It’s hard to eat clean when your pantry is stocked with the wrong foods. Here is a simple guide to cleaning out your pantry, and some healthy alternatives to replace the foods that are not serving your body’s wellness.
Throw Out the Easy Stuff
The first step to a clean and healthy pantry is to throw out the things we know are unhealthy. This includes sugary, processed, and damaged foods that might be hiding in the back of your shelves. Thoroughly go through your pantry and remove any of the following items:
Candy, Soda and any other Junk food
High sodium items
Once this is done, it’s time to take a deeper dive and find some healthier alternatives to some everyday staples.
5 Healthy Alternatives for Your Pantry Staples
Instead of breakfast cereal that is often loaded with sugars and additives with very little nutritional value, stock your pantry with oatmeal. Even the “healthiest” cereal options average around 5g of sugar and 4g of fiber per serving (with many popular cereal brands containing 10-18g of added sugar).
In comparison, steel-cut oats have 0g sugar, and up to 8g of fiber per serving. It’s a naturally gluten-free whole grain that can help with weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and lower risk of heart-disease.
If you like that crispy crunch in the morning, try making an oatmeal-based granola at home and have fun adding extra crunch with toasted nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
2. Nuts & Dried Veggies
Replace your snacking chips for healthier snacks that are just as crispy and savory. Nuts, dried veggies, and seaweed can be packed with nutritional value and flavor with various seasonings and spices. Skip the empty calories and inflammatory response that traditional fried chips can cause, and fuel your body with clean energy instead.
3. Frozen Vegetables
We get it. It’s hard to incorporate the amount of vegetables you need for a balanced diet with only fresh produce. It can be quite expensive, not to mention how much space you need in your fridge to fit all those vegetables! While keeping shelf-stable canned vegetables on-hand seems like a great idea to solve this problem, they are often packed in high-sodium liquids with chemically processed packaging.
Instead of canned vegetables, stock up on frozen vegetables which are often picked and then frozen: keeping most of their nutrients intact, and preserving them without any additives or chemicals.
4. Alternative Flours
All-purpose flour has been a pantry staple for decades, but is it really the only flour you can use for those gravy, cake, and dredging recipes? The answer is no.
Alternative flours like coconut flour, almond flour, or even whole wheat flour are cleaner and healthier options than the processed all-purpose bleached flour those recipes often call for. Instead of chemically-engineered additives, gums, and fillers, you can cook with more nutritional, single-ingredient flours to give your body sustainable fuel.
5. Natural Protein
Processed meat offers very little nutrition for the calories consumed, and is considered one of the worst carcinogens. Avoid eating processed meat like hot dogs, deli meat, or canned meat. Instead, stock your pantry with natural and clean sources like nuts and beans, and your fridge with eggs and natural meats. Not only are they cleaner sources, but they also have a much higher nutritional value.
If it’s hard to incorporate the amount of protein you need, consider a natural supplement with added benefits like amino acids and digestive enzymes to contribute to your body’s overall wellness.
Take Your Time
Re-hauling your pantry can be quite the process. Don’t be discouraged if this sounds like too much work!
Do what you can and take your time. Change doesn’t have to be radical. In fact, incremental change is usually longer lasting. Simply cleaning out your pantry is a great first step on your way to a healthier you.
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