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How to Spring Clean Your Kitchen

You’re probably doing it with your closet right now: spring cleaning! So let me ask: have you done it for your kitchen too? And I’m not just talking about wiping down the counters, getting rid of that grease you’ve been ignoring for too long, or reorganizing your counters. I mean the food.

It’s easy for most of us to look at our clothes and see what needs to go — but that’s not always the case when it comes to what’s in the fridge and pantry. That’s where I’m here to help.

Below are my top tips for setting up a healthy kitchen to support your health and fitness success year-round. We’ll start with the pantry first, then move on to the fridge.

“Spring Cleaning” Your Pantry

It’s best to start with a clean sweep of everything unhealthy that needs to go. If it’s not in your house, you’re much less likely to reach for it. After removing the bad, you can think about what to swap or add in its place.

I’ve broken it down by category with examples of foods to remove, followed by options for swapping them out:

Baking Products

Baking can be healthy, but the ingredients you use matter.

Remove:

  • White flours
  • Refined sweeteners like white sugar and high fructose corn syrup
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Hydrogenated oils or butters

Swap it with:

  • Whole grain flours, coconut flour, or almond flour
  • Maple syrup or brown rice syrup
  • Stevia
  • Extra virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil

Grains

Refined grains spike your blood sugar and provide hardly any fiber or nutrients, so get purge those and add in wholesome whole grains.

Remove:

  • White pasta
  • White rice
  • White bread (or bread advertised as “wheat” but that doesn’t have “whole wheat” as the first ingredient)
  • Breakfast cereals

Swap it with:

  • Dried whole grains, such as brown rice, millet, and quinoa
  • Pasta made of black bean or edamae
  • Sprouted and whole grain breads
  • Oats

Canned Products

The best canned products only contain the ingredient of the food you’re buying, and maybe water.

Remove:

  • Peanut butter containing hydrogenated oils and salt
  • Canned corn or beans in added salt, sugar, or oil.
  • Fruits or vegetables canned in salt, oils, syrups, or added sugars
  • High-sodium and/or cream-based soups

Swap it with:

  • All-natural nut butters (with nuts as the only ingredient)
  • Frozen, dried beans or canned beans water
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Low-sodium vegetable soups
  • Organic low-sodium broths or protein-based soups

Packaged Snacks

The less packaged snacks, the better. Here are some of the biggest ones to toss.

Remove:

  • Any packaged candies or chocolates
  • Nutrition or cereal bars
  • Pretzels, chips, or cookies
  • Trail mix with added oils, sugars, or chocolates
  • Store-bought popcorn
  • 100-calorie snack packs or other snacks with sugar in the ingredient list

Swap it with:

  • Fresh fruits and veggies like baby carrots, celery, cucumber, peppers
  • Protein bars and fruit and nut bars (Note: ensure they just contain fruit and nuts, like Larabars)
  • Roasted salt-free and oil-free nuts with ground flaxseed
  • Full popcorn kernels you can air-pop

“Spring Cleaning” Your Fridge

Dairy Products

Remove:

  • Fat-free milks
  • Fat-free or fruit filled yoghurts
  • Margarine or fake butter products
  • Egg beaters

Swap it for:

  • Unsweetened whole or non-dairy milk (like almond milk)
  • Greek yoghurt and Keffir
  • Real, pastured butter
  • Real, pasture-raised eggs

Condiments

A lot of store-bought condiments are full of sugars, additives, and processed ingredients. Think more whole-food sources for dressing your food.

Remove:

  • Store-bought salad dressings
  • Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip
  • Ketchup with added sugars
  • Chocolate syrups

Swap it for:

  • Healthy oils, vinegars, lemon juice, or homemade dressings
  • Hummus
  • Guacamole
  • Sugar-free ketchup

Drinks

Any drink with added calories, besides smoothies, is better thrown out.

Remove:

  • Fruit juices
  • Sodas
  • Mixed alcoholic drinks

Swap it with:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Herbal teas or organic coffees
  • Water

Add in the Good Stuff

Make sure your fridge stays stocked with plenty of whole fruits and vegetables you enjoy, good sources of proteins, healthy fats like flaxseeds, walnuts, and avocados, and wholesome grains and starches. The closer each item in your kitchen is to its whole, natural state, the better it is for you health and waistline.

If you’d like a personalized reboot of your own kitchen with an experienced health and fitness coach, contact me and let’s talk!

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