I spent most of last weekend spring cleaning the backyard. This weekend, we’ll spring clean the sneaky storage area in the basement which works as a catch-all for junk I’m trying to ignore throughout the winter. Now that longer days and lots of light are taking over the dreary winter blues, it’s a relief to let go of some of the lazy habits from the season of freeze.
As spring cleaning starts happening around your house, why not tidy the cobwebs out of more than just your corners? Clean your kitchen cupboards and start some new, healthier habits! I chatted with Sharon Richter, a Mahanttan-based registered dietician who offered up her best tips for the 12 types of foods it’s time to completely eradicate from our kitchens, and the 12 we can add to support healthy eating habits. Here’s her list of the 12 must-rids, and the 12 add-in’s you want in your pantry this spring.
What 12 types of food should people kick out of their pantries this spring? Why?
“One big thing that everyone should be looking for and getting rid of are any foods with high fructose corn syrup. Foods with hydrogenated oils should also be avoided. In discussing nutrition and diets, we often talk about healthy fats vs. unhealthy fats. Whereas avocados are full of healthy fats, Hydrogenated oils are full of unhealthy transfat. Also, mono sodium glutamate aka MSG is an ingredient we do not want in our pantry. MSG is very high in sodium which is not good for anyone with high blood pressure or hypertension.
You should be looking at the foods you have had in your pantry for awhile and that can be replaced with healthier options. Even though you might not use these foods regularly, if you keep them in your pantry, there is a higher chance you will reach for them when you are busy and are rushing to whip up a meal or snack.
Here are my top 12 food items I think you should get rid of:
- 1. Dry Soup Mixes
- 2. Flavored noodle packages
- 3. Canned vegetables in butter
- 4. High sodium soups
- 5. Canned fruit in heavy syrup
- 6. Creamy salad dressings
- 7. Creamy pasta sauce i.e. Alfredo
- 8. Candy
- 9. Cookies & Pastries
- 10. Candy coated nuts
- 11. Soda
- 12. Low-Fiber Cereals”
What 12 things should we add to our pantry this year? Why?
“Your pantry should be full of healthy options that work around your hectic lifestyle. Healthy snacks like Balance Bars (which are portion controlled and high in protein and fiber), peanut butter and raw nuts throughout the day prevent you from over-eating at meal times.
Here are my top 12 things I have in my pantry this year:
- 1. Raw nuts are full of the healthy fats we were discussing and will keep you feeling satisfied.
- 2. Raw seeds are a good source of various minerals.
- 3. Olive oil is a great alternative to a store-bought salad dressing.
- 4. Vinegars in various flavors such as balsamic and champagne can also be used for a healthy alternative to salad dressing.
- 5. Herbs are a great source of flavor without any of the calories, fat or sodium that is found in other condiments.
- 6. Quinoa is the perfect alternative to rice or pasta, its high level of protein will help you stay full.
- 7. Portion controlled snacks, like Balance Bars, are a necessity for those days when you are really busy and need to grab something on the run. Dark Chocolate Balance Bars make the perfect snack because of their high level of protein.
- 8. Flax Seeds are a great source of omegas and fiber.
- 9. Peanut butter, as long as it is portion controlled, Justin’s squeeze packs are great for snacking. I also like almond butter or even seed butters like sunflower butter.
- 10. Cereals that are high in fiber. At the start of the week portion off your cereal in sandwich bags so you can grab it on your way to work and enjoy it without overdoing.
- 11. Packaged tuna can be added to salad or whole grain toast for a healthy lunch.
- 12. Coconut water is a much better option than soda or a sports drink and will help you to get your daily requirements of water.”
About Sharon Richter: Sharon is a Registered Dietitian who has established a private nutrition practice in Manhattan over the past ten years. Her objective is to help others achieve a healthier lifestyle by creating incremental goals that are both physically and mentally challenging and most importantly; achievable. Understanding the importance of nutritional education within the community, Sharon works closely with Wellness In The Schools (WITS), the Challenged Athletes Foundation and also sits on the board for Healthination and Sports For Youth, and Fitist. Chat more with Sharon via Twitter Chat with Balance Bar to discuss the Spring Cleaning campaign on March 20th at 3pm.