We’re several weeks into the New Year, how are those resolutions holding up?
Did you make an action plan? Are you struggling to keep to it? It’s time to shake things up. A cleanse is in order!
A cupboard cleanse that is!
Talking about making healthy lifestyle changes is one thing, but taking action and doing everything you can to accomplish this is another thing. A kitchen cupboard cleanse removes temptation and often creates a space we are happier to create healthy meals in.
Here is my checklist for kitchen cleanse. As you go through each area ask yourself does this food nourish me and my family? If it doesn’t, it should go.
If you’re like me the idea of throwing food out is sickening. It seems so wasteful. Take time to assess:
Are these food stuffs past their sell by date? Yes? Are these food stuffs (non dairy, no meat or fish) that could go in the compost? Or should they go to the landfill?
If the foods are not past their sell-by-date and unopened, consider are they nutritious? Yes? Are they part of your healthy eating plan? Yes? Put to side to return to storage. No? Send to your local Food Bank or give to friends. Just get it out of your house today!
1. Empty your cupboards and food storage.
Now is the time to ask as you go through your cupboards “Is this nutritious? Is it part of my healthy eating plan?” Get rid of all the chips, candy, cookies, cupcakes and unhealthy choices. If they’re out of the house you can’t be tempted by them so easily. Place food into the following groups as you empty the fridge. I find it helps to have boxes ready so that I can just pick up and move when I’m done sorting.
- Out of date – Compost or landfill
- Date still good and nutritious
- Date still good, but not a healthy choice or you’re never going to use it – Compost/landfill/Food Bank
Once the cupboards are empty, remove the boxes of out-of-date or unhealthy foods out of the kitchen.
2. Wash down the cupboards.
3. Place dry goods in clear glass containers so you can see them easily and label so you can tell your quiona, from couscous, from polenta.
4. As you return your food to the cupboards place the foods you want to encourage upfront. Replace the unhealthy snacks with mixed nuts, all natural peanut butter*, trail mix and other healthy snacks.
One of my favorite snacks to have on hand is mixing 1/8 cup each of almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. Put this in snack bags and have it all ready to grab and eat when the hankering for a snack hits.
Choosing healthy options is much easier when you don’t have to dig through a cluttered fridge, but open the refrigerator door to fresh, prepared healthy choices.
Refrigerators are for perishable food, for the heart of much of what our healthy diet should be. Let’s get rid of the chocolate milk, the whipped cream, the pies, cakes, sodas, and left over pizza.
- Using a similar approach to above, remove everything from the fridge.
- Anything older than a few months old should be thrown. If you haven’t eaten it by now it probably isn’t very good anymore.
- Wipe down fridge.
- Check the condiments for best by dates and for sugar content. Have you used them in the past six months? If not, it’s time to get rid of them.
- Place produce to be refrigerated in the produce tray where humidity is somewhat controlled. Vegetables tend to become limp and lose vitamins when they lose moisture. Remember not all fruit or vegetable should be refrigerated. Tomatoes taste better not kept in the fridge. Berries and stone fruit also ripen and taste best at room temperature, but remove to fridge to extend use. Tropical fruits like pineapple and melons should be kept on the countertop whole. Potatoes, onions and garlic are also best not refrigerated.
- Keep your oils, olive, sesame etc. in the fridge to stop oxidization which can result in rancid oils. They will become cloudy in the fridge, but will clarify at room temperature.
- Wrap homemade meals tightly, label and date.
- Keep cleaned and cut carrots, celery, crudite vegetables in clear glass containers along with hummus (homemade is easy and cheap, watch the blog for) for a quick snack.
- Rid your fridge of deli meats and cheeses that are overly processed.
Freshen that Freezer
It’s freezer time! Get rid of all the ice-cream, greasy frozen take-out leftovers that you put away for lunches and forgot about, frozen quick meals filled with preservatives and replace them with healthy natural foods and snacks. Make space for when you batch cook some of your favorite homemade healthy dishes. I have frozen low fat yogurts, frozen fruits when fresh selections aren’t available and skinless and boneless chicken breasts and lean beef. Remember to label and date everything!
By cleaning out your cupboards and replacing with healthy choices you can avoid falling and keep your commitment to healthy eating. One of my biggest keys to weight loss was not only getting rid of these unhealthy foods, but never buying or bringing them home anymore. Previously, I always used the excuses when I would buy them that these choices were for company, but I would be the one eating it. Put yourself in healthy situations whenever you have an appetite for something you will only have healthy choices to choose from.
Remember 2016 is a New Year and a new you! We can do this! 🙂
*Several well known peanut butter brands are chock full of added sugar. Make sure your nut butter is just nuts, no sugar.