Four Tips to Spring Clean Your Kitchen
The annual ritual can make it easier to eat healthy, according to Le Cordon Bleu nutrition expert Lindsey Walder.
Nothing says spring like a vigorous stint of spring cleaning. Like me, reorganizing your closet or scouring the bathrooms might top your to-do list each spring, but let’s not forget the kitchen. Spring is the perfect time to makeover and transform this room into one that will support your healthy eating and weight loss efforts, not hinder them.
As a dietitian who practices what she preaches, I stay vigilant about keeping my kitchen full of healthy options and allowing select few not-so-healthy treats in at any given time. I also keep a mental inventory of food items I have on hand, making sure to use those whose freshness will expire first. So, I am fortunate that the kitchen is one room I can usually check off my spring cleaning list. Could your kitchen use a good spring cleaning? Check out my tips below.
Tip 1: Seek and destroy old and unhealthy foods.
No one likes to waste food, but when it comes to your health, purging the stuff is usually the best solution. Stashes of candy in random drawers, highly processed food items you certainly can live without and empty-calorie snack foods that usually eaten mindlessly are best just tossed. Whether you are a dietitian or not, I am guessing you know which foods you should not be eating in excess—these items have to go. Unspoiled foods that you decide to clear out can be donated to your local food bank so they do not go to waste.
Tip 2: Survey your spices.
Herbs and spices are an important feature in any kitchen, whether you cook healthy or not. During your kitchen clean-up, go through your spice cabinet and toss out the stale-smelling ones. Then purchase some new if you need to. Keep in mind that it is recommended not to buy more than a year’s supply of ground herbs and spices. If you are not used to using herbs and spices, the following are some of the easiest ones to start incorporating into your meals: cumin, black pepper, basil, cinnamon, thyme, chili powder, and red pepper flakes. Any good chef knows that herbs and spices naturally bring life to foods. Do a little experimenting and try something new!
Tip 3: Stock up with the healthy stuff.
Fact: you cannot eat what isn’t in your house. Thus, by making sure at least 80 percent of the foods you have on hand are healthier options, you set yourself up for success. Healthy kitchen staples like canned beans, whole-wheat pasta, nuts and nut butters, brown and wild rice, olive oil, canned tomatoes, dried fruit, and rolled oats should command your pantry shelves. Always have a good variety of fresh and frozen vegetables and fruits ready and available to eat or use in recipes. Keep your fridge supplied with lean poultry and fish, low-fat dairy or soymilk, hummus, and fresh eggs. A little planning will ensure that you always have the ingredients on hand to make a quick and healthy meal.
Tip 4: Read and proceed.
Buy a healthy cooking-themed magazine or cookbook or find healthy recipes online. Nothing inspires you to eat healthy more than browsing mouthwatering recipes that are also better for you. If you are skeptical that healthy cooking can also taste good, I challenge you to get into your newly made-over kitchen and find out! In addition to recipes, healthy cooking magazines and cookbooks often offer essential tips for cooking and preparing great-tasting, healthier fare. Choose a cookbook that has calories, fats, fiber, protein, and sodium listed for each portion. It is wise to know exactly what you will be eating.