Many of us sabotage our attempts at healthier eating because we have the wrong ingredients in our kitchen. In order to keep to better eating habits, start by restocking your pantry.
Stocking a healthier kitchen
When you are hungry, you look through the cabinets for something to eat. If you find a box of cookies or ice cream in the freezer, you are going to eat it – eventually. Resist the temptation by not having certain foods in your home in the first place.
Myths about your Kitchen
- “I have to eat up all the food first and then replace it” – Not really. Donate canned goods, boxes of pasta and other foods to the local food pantry. You don’t have to throw away perfectly good items if someone else can use them. Check the dates and the integrity of the packaging to make sure everything perishable is still good. If you have a half eaten box of ice cream, just chuck it out and be done with it.
- “Eating healthy is too expensive” – It is true that pre-packaged meals are costly in the supermarket. But, you don’t have to eat them in order to change your eating habits. Choose frozen vegetables instead of fresh if you are worrying about food spoiling. Buy whole grain bread when it is on sale and freeze it until you need it. Buy lean meat from the butcher shop. Divide it into serving portions and freeze it until you are ready to eat it.
- “My kids won’t eat healthy” – Even if your kids are used to eating more high fat foods, you can make substitutions to your favorite meals that lower the calorie content but not the taste. And, many kids don’t eat certain foods because they haven’t been introduced to them. Tasting the natural sweetness of fruits and some vegetables can lower their need for high calorie sugary snacks.
Tips for Stocking your Pantry
Now that we’ve gotten the myths out of the way, here are a few tips for refilling that pantry with more nutritious fare.
- Buy ingredients – Instead of concentrating on instant foods, create dishes using fresh and healthier ingredients. Create a casserole using brown rice, low fat cream soups and fresh vegetables and meats. There are fewer calories than in prepared casseroles. It may take extra time at first to get the hang of making meals but with practice it will take no time to whip up dinner.
- Keep healthier desserts and snacks on hand – Kids love to raid the refrigerator after school. Keep a freezer full of fruit juice popsicles, Italian ice and frozen fruit to snack on. Peanut butter on celery sticks is also a favored treat. Keep fresh fruit handy for kids to grab.
- Choose lean meats – Pick leaner cuts of meat. Use leftovers to create new dishes for lunch the next day or a weekend meal.
- Choose healthier oils – Olive oil is great for making salad dressings and also for baking and cooking. For scrambling eggs or sautéing foods, try cooking sprays if you are worried about calories.
The first step to a healthier kitchen is stocking it well with wholesome foods.