In our ‘Refrigerator Clean Out’ blog, we discussed several items you should keep in your refrigerator and stock up on, and also what you absolutely need to throw out as soon as possible. This is Part 2 of the series, and we will do a similar pantry clean out to assist you in keeping those healthy foods around and tossing the toxic junk.
Pantry Clean Out: The Good and the Ugly
Just getting started with your pantry clean out can be quite overwhelming. But don’t let that stop you!
Many of us find it hard to ‘waste’ food. We don’t want to throw out perfectly good food or feel like we wasted our money.
But let’s be real; the longer you continue to let those items lurk in your pantry, the longer you will eat them OR be tempted to eat them (which is sometimes just as bad). Also, if you don’t make a clean break and start fresh by tossing everything that isn’t good for you, you’ll likely continue buying similar unhealthy foods, therefore creating a vicious cycle of always having bad foods in your pantry.
So, you must cut the cord. Make that decision to completely clean out your pantry (just like you hopefully did with your refrigerator) and start living the healthier lifestyle you want.
If you don’t use many spices now in your everyday life, you likely will now that you are doing a pantry clean out and eating healthy. Once you eliminate junk food from your life, your meal options clearly become a bit more limited. Don’t worry, there are millions of different meal combinations you can throw together, you just have to start getting creative. Some of that creativity should come in the form of spices.
For example, if you decide chicken is one of your meats of choice, you will surely become tired of plain chicken breasts day in and day out. This is where the spices come in – from jerky seasoning to curry, to cinnamon- you will be able to create more exciting, tasteful dishes when you utilize your spices.
Spices are a great way to add flavor to meals without adding any junk like sugar or processed condiments. Some favorites to keep around are basil, oregano, cinnamon, thyme, jerk and cayenne pepper.
You may be thinking, “beverages in the pantry?”, and rightfully so. However, many people keep their coffee and teas in their pantry. Both of these items are keepers, of course, in moderation (a cup or two a day, not a full pot)!
With that being said, some nutritionists advise against any caffeine at all. So do your research, talk with a specialist, and get to know your own body to make this decision for yourself. Besides the caffeine, both coffee and many teas have beneficial antioxidants that allow you to sip and enjoy the benefits. Some favorites are green tea, black tea, white tea, peppermint tea, and cinnamon tea.
Side note: Just be sure you are drinking that coffee in its purest form – black. The sugars and creamers are what can make coffee super unhealthy, so stay away from those. (And if you are thinking ‘no way’, I promise, black coffee is an acquired taste so give it a try for a few days)!
Nuts & Seeds
Good news – you can hold on to the nuts in your pantry clean out! And you’ll want to because once you pitch the all the junk in your pantry, you’ll still want something in there to grab when you are feeling snacky.
Nuts are perfect for this. They are packed with protein and unsaturated fats (the good fats). They’re also good for your heart, lower inflammation levels, and reduce your risk of developing blood clots that could lead to major heart attacks. Nuts also appear to improve the health of the lining of your arteries.
While the majority of oils are not good for you, there are a select few that are safe and healthy. These green light oils are avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. This is because they have an ideal ratio of fatty acids and they are far less processed than other types of vegetable oils.
They can often be found in “expeller pressed” form, meaning the oil was literally squeezed very powerfully out of the vegetable, but no complex chemical process took place. Coconut oil also has the ability to stand up to high heats and avoid oxidation.
A few other items you can hang onto are Apple Cider Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar, Tomato Paste, Bone Broth, Ghee, Honey, Coconut flour, Almond Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder. All of these items are in the safe zone!
To be quite frank – toss almost anything that isn’t listed above.
This should include any teas with added sugars/unknown ingredients, sugars – white, brown, etc., snacky foods like chips, crackers, pasta, starches (if they aren’t gluten-free), sweet treats like cookies and candy, and bad oils such as canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil. In a nutshell (see what I did there?), during your pantry clean out, you should toss anything that has added preservatives, ingredients you can’t pronounce, and anything that isn’t considered gluten and dairy free.
Sometimes healthy lifestyle choices can be a lot of work. That’s why we have such a great selection of super healthy, grab and go foods that taste amazing. Stop in and check out this season’s menu!