Spring Clean Your Food Situation

I love a good spring cleaning. It leaves me feeling refreshed and energized to take on a new season. I am naturally a very organized person, but getting rid of stuff and making way for a fresh start is a feeling like no other. We all clean out our closets, our dressers and under our beds, but sometimes we forget to make over the most important area of the house- the kitchen.

Come spring, the pantry and fridge are filled with unneeded and unwanted foods and condiments. It’s just as important to banish these items to the trash to make room for new wholesome ingredients, as it is to pave the way for a healthier lifestyle. Here are a few ways to get you started on clearing out your kitchen.

Time to forage that freezer. We all throw leftovers in the freezer and then forget they ever existed. It’s definitely ok to store certain foods in there for a certain amount of time, but if the items start to look like icicles are forming on them, it’s time to throw them out. This causes freezer burn, which not only ruins the taste, but sucks all the nutrients out of the food. If you are storing raw protein, it is good to keep in the freezer for about nine months. Other healthy standbys to keep frozen are berries, peaches, mangoes, veggies and healthy frozen meals that do not exceed 500 calories. 

Sort out your refrigerator. It’s great to keep fresh vegetables in your fridge, but if you’re someone who doesn’t eat them right away, you might want to choose types that don’t spoil quickly. Carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, acorn squash, cabbage, apples and oranges all keep for long stretches of time. Also, make sure to regularly check expiration dates on salad dressings, mayonnaise, cheeses, sour cream and other dairy products. It’s easy to keep this sitting in the fridge for way passed their good-by date. 

Organize your pantry. Toss all items with double digit sugar levels, outrageous sodium amounts and crazy preservatives. Let go of cereals and granolas that are also high in sugar, no matter how healthy the labels claims them to be. Instead go for oatmeal topped with cinnamon and fruit. If you are craving junk food, opt for organic, air-popped pop corn and nuts. Stock up on whole grains like couscous, quinoa and brown rice, keep organic canned beans for a go-to protein on hand. Also, canned fatty fish like tuna packed in olive oil and sardines are a good source of omega-3. 

Stay organized. In order to help yourself make healthy decisions, you should keep all your healthy foods at eye level and hide all snacks in the back. This ensures that you will automatically go for the nutritious foods first, forcing yourself to have to dig for the high calorie treats later. Maybe in the midst of your search you will realize it’s not worth it and decide to forgo the unhealthy calorie intake.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Brett and Sue Coulstock