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Health and Fitness News

What’s in Your Cabinets?

Tips to stock a healthy kitchen.

If a dietician were to inspect your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator, what would they find? Would they be impressed with the healthy options or would they be disappointed to find a kitchen filled with junk food? (Maybe they would never find your secret stash of candy only you know about.)
It’s easy for junk food to sneak it’s way into your home. Parties, holidays, occasional indulgences, and bad habits allow processed foods and sweets to accumulate. Maybe you think if you just ate all the junk food it would finally be gone, and you’d be able to start fresh. But the next time you grocery shop, somehow you come home with the same old junk.

It’s hard keeping unhealthy foods out of the house, especially when junk is your go-to default. So how can you stock a healthy kitchen and keep foods high in calories, chemicals, sodium, and sugar out of the house? Here are a few tips that might inspire you toward making healthy changes.

Make a Plan

Before each trip to the grocery store, spend a few minutes making a meal plan for the week ahead. Check your cabinets for what you already have on hand, and then write a list of the foods and ingredients you still need to purchase to prepare each meal. Read over your list. Is each item listed a food that will help you reach your health and weight loss goals? If not, take it off your list.

Think Twice

A meal plan and a list are the easy parts of good choices. Making healthy selections as you walk the aisles of the grocery store is more challenging. This is where your list becomes important. Stick to your list as much as possible. Junk food lining the store shelves may be calling your name, but if it’s not on your list, it’s not going in your cart. Before placing an item in your cart, think twice. Is it healthy? Will it help you reach your goals?

Read ingredient labels before placing food in your cart. Compare brands to see which has less added sugar, sodium, and calories, which has more fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and which is made without added preservatives or artificial colors or flavors.

Pantry Essentials

Life gets busy and sometimes you wait until the last minute to figure out what to eat for dinner. This is where a stocked kitchen comes in handy. With healthy options on hand, you’re less likely to pick up fast food or warm up a frozen dinner. When you grocery shop, look for deals on healthy, non-perishable foods to keep on hand for fixing simple, healthy meals.

In your pantry, keep a store of oatmeal and whole-grain cereals. Instead of white rice, keep long-grain or brown rice on hand. Rather than pastas, crackers, and breads made with refined, white flour, choose those made with whole-wheat. Keep a stock of canned vegetables, canned fruit (that’s not in heavy syrup), peanut butter, canned beans, tomato sauces, canned broth, spices, whole-wheat flour, potatoes, olive oil, and onions.

To stock a healthy refrigerator, shop for fresh produce, low-fat milk, yogurt low in added sugar, cheese, eggs, sauces, condiments, and fresh seafood and poultry.
Then fill your freezer with healthy meal ingredients. Go with frozen fruits, vegetables, chicken, turkey, seafood, whole-grain breads, nuts, and seeds.

All this shopping done, you can safely search your pantry at mealtime, because every item will move you toward improved health!