Quick Kitchen Re-Tool: Pare Down The Pantry

No one wants to throw away food. I’m not going to ask you to do that. I am going to ask you to take food to a pantry or shelter that could use it. Why? Because if something is in your pantry, you or someone in your house will eventually eat it. And, I can guarantee that if you are looking into doing a healthy kitchen retool, you have items in your pantry that you don’t need to eat.

So let’s get started.

This requires you to pull out everything in your pantry. You need to see the items clearly. You need to read labels and look at ingredients lists. This is the only way you can determine if it’s a keeper or not. Well, let me take that back. If it’s something like PopTarts, it’s got to go, IMMEDIATELY!

About reading those labels… You are looking for added sugar. There’s a long list of names this might fall under. Check it out for yourself. You are looking for unnecessary preservatives and dyes. You just don’t need this stuff. You don’t have to quit cold turkey, but you’ve got to start eliminating the processed products. Don’t allow yourself to continue to bring them into your home.

I’ll give you an example. This a a label on a box of Golden Crisp cereal. We’ve got a teenager in the house, and on some items (like his snacks), he gets a pass. It’s the one caveat to our eating habits, and I don’t see it changing any time soon. It’s hard to change the eating habits of a teen. My recommendation… Start them young! My daughter knows the foods that belong to her brother, and she also knows that she doesn’t eat them.

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So back to the label.

Three of the first four ingredients are sugars: sugar, corn syrup and honey. Then, to add insult to injury, you have caramel color. This is what you’re looking for. Don’t be fooled by calorie counts, fat, etc. Look at where those calories are coming from. That’s how you need to make your decision when it comes to the foods you buy. And don’t forget that tiny line at the bottom of the label: Partially produced with genetic engineering. Ugh!

This might take a while, especially if you’ve been buying packaged goods for a while, but it’s worth it! The closer you get to whole foods, the more nutritious your diet will be. Shop the periphery of the grocery store as often as you can. The closer you get to the center, the more processed the products become.

Let me know how it goes in the comments.