Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Spring Cleaning the Pantry: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Although the cold temps are once again swinging through Chicago area this week, the calendar tells me it is spring. What a great time to spring clean more than just the bedrooms, living room and garage - how about the pantry too? Overwhelmed by the idea and not sure where to start? Follow these steps for a performance-supporting pantry in no time!

1. Pull everything out of the pantry
Whether you think the food is healthy or not, remove everything from the pantry and place on an easily-accessible working space such as a large countertop or kitchen table. 

2. Divide everything into groups of food
Sample groups might be: crackers, chips, cookies, other snacks, canned fruits, canned vegetables, grains (rice, pasta, etc.), cereal, etc.

3. Within each group, decide and divide into "healthy" and "unhealthy" groups
What makes a pantry item healthy or not? Items that are whole grain/whole wheat, low in saturated fat and low in sodium are better options. For canned fruits, those in 100% fruit juice are the best options. While low sodium vegetables are great, you can always just rinse the veggies after opening the can too. Some foods, such as cookies/desserts and most chips are pretty much guaranteed to not meet the healthy seal.

4. Place back in the pantry - at eye level - only the healthy options
All of those lovely health-promoting options should be placed right at eye level to encourage choosing them when opening the pantry. Make them easy to grab to increase likeliness of actually eating them. Don't have any healthy options within a group? Sounds like something good to put on a shopping list to me!

5. Decide what to do with the foods left
At this point, you have two options: get rid of the "non-healthful" foods or place them in a harder-to-access location. If you are like me, there are some foods better kept out of the house. These are foods that you simply find difficult to control portions when eaten. These can vary from person to person, so discuss with each family member what they would prefer not stocked in the house. If you want my recommendation, get rid of the non-healthy options - that's what spring cleaning is all about, right? Moving forward, you can now better control how often you buy these options and make them a less frequent presence in your pantry. 

6. Put any leftover non-healthful options on high shelves or behind better options
This makes those options more difficult to access quickly. That way, when you are hungry and need something fast, your first instinct will be to grab a better option than cheese puffs.

7. Stand back and admire your work
Look at all those healthy options! Makes you feel better already, eh?

Be Extraordinary,


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