Spring has sprung, and you know what that means- spring cleaning! I don’t know if it’s just me, but I actually enjoy the annual removal of old clothes, worn down towels, and other junk. Konmari method, anyone?! Something about getting rid of the old and being able to bring in the new just makes springtime all that much better.
With my typical spring cleaning haul, I like to do one room of the house at a time. Don’t miss our first about featuring our fridge clean out method! As a Registered Dietitian and self-proclaimed foodie, I spend A LOT of time in the kitchen and want it to always work for me; both literally and figuratively. This room is the essential tool keeping me fueled and feeling my best in every season.
Let’s Spring Clean your kitchen, too! First, clear out the foods that just take up space but provide no real nutritional value. This allows room for foods that contribute to a healthy, clean eating lifestyle. Having more of these nutritious options on hand make it easier to live your healthiest day-to-day life. The last thing we want is anxiety from a cluttered pantry and overflowing freezer! It’s important to keep your kitchen equipped with the essentials that lead to healthy dietary choices.
Start with these three Spring Clean tips
- Check those expiration dates!
- Invest in some handy chip-clips, reusable baggies and glassware
- Take an 80/20 approach to eating well- “spring cleaning, clean eating”
- Spring cleaning is a chance to get your kitchen in 80/20 condition! Aim for 80% of your options to be those of highest nutritional standard, while the other 20% of high quality items that bring you joy, like dark chocolate or probiotic filled sodas. Even if it’s a treat, you can superfood it! Instead of Oreos, try Simple Mills crunchy cookies!
Okay, let’s hit that Pantry!
Swap: Simple Carbs for Complex Carbs
Let’s start here- Carbs. Are. Not. Bad. But simple carbs like white bread and potato chips, will result in nothing but an energy crash and continued cravings. Swap these for complex carbs that keep us full longer and act as a more sustainable source of energy. Looking for the alternatives to carb staples can be fun (well, for a dietitian!)! Have you ever tried chickpea pasta or almond flour tortillas? Delicious, and double the nutrients.
Nix: White rice, white pasta, bread, and flour tortillas, instead:
- Brown Rice, Quinoa, and ancient grains like buckwheat and einkorn
- Chickpea Pasta, Edamame pasta, Lentil Pasta and Hearts of Palm Pasta
- Whole grain bread (not just wheat; this isn’t any different than regular white flour!) or Superseed Bread, almond flour or corn tortillas
Swap: High Sodium snacks for fiber, protein and flavor filled snacks
Empty calories found in the typical cracker or chip will do nothing to keep you filled nor satisfied. Plus the sodium content found in snacks like those and jerkeys can be outrageously high causing you to feel bloated, overly thirsty and just yuck. Fiber and/or protein savory snacks, such as corn tortilla chips or grass fed beef sticks are a much better option for the quality of calories and ingredients.
Nix: Chips, crackers, flavored beef jerky, buttered popcorn, instead:
- Seed Crackers, Almond Flour Crackers
- 100% Grass Fed Beef Sticks, Free-Range Turkey Sticks
- Organic Corn Tortilla Chips, Grain-Free Chips, and Air-Fried Veggie Chips
- Air-popped popcorn, dried seaweed snacks.
Swap: Sweetened cereals for naturally sweetened, fiber filled grains
A carb-laden, low protein cereal is NOT the way to start the day. Even if it says “Protein Granola”, I can almost guarantee you it’s just as high in simple carbs and sugars as the other. We want to break our fast with protein, fiber and fat. This means your bowl of cheerios or instant oatmeal will give you energy for an hour, tops, but a bowl of grainless granola with greek yogurt or a rolled oatmeal topped with almond butter will keep you full and fueled until lunch
Nix: high-protein granola, flavored oatmeal, and breakfast cereal, instead:
Swap: Dried fruit for fresh, freeze-dried or frozen fruit
In theory, yes, dried fruit appears healthy- it’s fruit right? But in actuality, most dried fruits are heavily sweetened with cane sugar and fruit juice, making it just as naughty as eating candy. Instead, opt for fresh fruit that you prep ahead of time or can grab on the go. If you’re looking to top a salad or dish with dried fruit for the texture, opt for unsweetened, organic dried fruit.
Nix: Dried fruit like cranberries, raisins, and fruit sticks, instead:
- Snack-friendly fruits: raspberries, blueberries, bananas, apples
- Frozen-fruit: mangos, bananas, berry medleys, etc.
- No-sugar added freeze dried fruits for extra crunch