Cooking healthy meals and eating smart snacks is so much easier when your pantry is fully stocked with healthy staples.
“If you’re like a lot of people, you probably have a variety of healthy and unhealthy foods in your pantry,” said Eva Powers, RDN a registered dietitian and advisor with the Centegra Healthy Living Institute. “That’s why I recommend a complete pantry makeover. When you get rid of or reduce the number of unhealthy items and replace them with better choices, it makes it so much easier to eat right.”
When deciding what items to keep, ask yourself “does this item support my nutrition goal?” If the answer is “no,” toss it or donate it.
Powers recommends placing all items on the kitchen table, then categorizing them:
- Keep: Healthy items that have not expired
- Toss: Almost-empty items, anything outdated and as many processed foods as possible (such as cakes, cookies, chips)
- Donate: Unopened, unexpired items only
Next, wipe down the shelves and see if more or better storage is needed. Powers says the local dollar store often has great “finds” for pantry storage.
Plan and organize. Group and store like items together, and divide foods into groups: used rarely, daily or sometimes. Top shelves work well for rarely used items, middle shelves for items used daily and bottom shelves for “sometimes used” items.
After the pantry is organized, fill it with items that support good health. Powers suggests:
- Dried beans and lentils
- Canned no-salt beans and no-salt tomatoes
- Low-sodium broth
- Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice and high-fiber pasta
- Unsweetened nut milk
- Nut butters
- Almonds, walnuts
- Chia, pumpkin and sunflower seeds
- Canned tuna and salmon
- Olive, canola oil
- Mustard and vinegar
- Quality protein powder
What’s Powers’ favorite pantry-based healthy snack?
“I take a salmon pouch, mix in mustard, then put it over whole-grain toast. But it also tastes great in a taco or on a lettuce leaf.”
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Schedule a consultation with Eva and learn more tips to better nutrition. Call 877-Centegra.