Making Healthier Choices? It’s Time To Clean Out Your Pantry!

Cleaning out the pantryCleaning out the pantry is a great way to jumpstart a new health routine or change in diet. Why not make the pantry and food storage spaces a part of your Spring Cleaning this year? Perhaps this describes your kitchen space:

  • You can’t find what you’re looking for.
  • You keep buying items and then find the same item at the back of your pantry.
  • You find many foods that are expired.
  • You’ve been making healthier choices, and you want to clean out the unhealthy items.

Think about all the places in your kitchen where you store food and food items: you pantry, cabinets, fridge and freezer. Those are all the places that you’lll want to clean out and organize.

Benefits of Cleaning Out the Pantry

There are many reasons to clean out the pantry. I listed some reasons to consider it above. Here are some unexpected benefits you may notice:

  • You’ll smile when you open the pantry.
  • You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment as you admire your organized pantry.
  • You’ll be able to find what you need!
  • Temptation is gone once those not-so-healthy foods are gone!

Out With The Old

Check the expiration dates on the foods in your kitchen space. Consider throwing out items that are long past their expiration date. Sometimes foods will lose their flavor or nutritional value. Worse, you don’t want to eat foods that have gone bad and can be harmful to the health of you and your family. 

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Make Room For The Healthy

It’s hard for me to throw out food, even if it’s something that I know I won’t use. I’ve been known to push things to the very back of the pantry instead of throwing them out. Eventually, they expire and get tossed. This happened a few years back with all of the highly processed “vegetable” and canola oils that lived in the back of our pantry. Once I realized that I would never use them, out they went. 

If you don’t want to toss good food in the trash, consider donating unopened and unwanted items to a food bank. Some “less healthy” things you may want to remove include: 

  • Vegetable oils and canola oils – these are all highly processed oils.
  • Processed foods that include hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils in their ingredient list; these oils are all trans fats.
  • Foods containing high fructose corn syrup.
  • White foods – especially refined sugars, white flour, and products made with either of these items.
  • Foods containing lots of additives or preservatives.
  • Foods containing MSG (monosodium glutamate)

Get Organized

There are lots of ways to organize the foods and food products in your kitchen space. I like to put like foods together. For example, I have sections for vinegars, oils, sweeteners, spices, dried beans, sees and nuts. The canned goods can also be arranged by type This will make things easier to find.

The items you use most frequently should be positioned at eye level. Consider, also, the foods that you want your children to have easy access to and put these on a lower shelf.

Tell us in the comments: What’s your number one reason for cleaning out your pantry?

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