Clean Eating Pantry Makeover

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Clean Eating Pantry Makeover

 

Clean Eating Pantry Makeover

When I think of clean eating, I think of the meme on facebook that has a picture of beautiful produce in the background and the words, “Organic Food: What Your Grandparents Called Food”.  Things were simpler when your grandparents were young.  You grew a garden, or went to a farm stand for your fruits and vegetables.  Processed foods were things you canned yourself so you had vegetables throughout the cold winter months and into the spring, until your garden was producing again.  Breads were hearty and made from flour that was much different from what we have in the stores today.  I have one major rule when I buy something for my pantry.  If my grandmother wouldn’t have recognized it as food, it doesn’t go on my shelf.

There are a few other rules to consider when filling your clean eating pantry.  If you are starting your journey into clean eating, keep these rules in mind and clean out your pantry!  The less you have in it that breaks the rules, the less likely you are to slip up and eat something you probably shouldn’t.

Don’ts for a Clean Eating Pantry Makeover

1.  Read your ingredient labels.  If it has things in it that you can’t pronounce or don’t know what it is, pitch it.  If you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably a chemical of some sort and should be avoided.

2.  Ditch processed sugars, such as traditional white sugar, artificial sweeteners, agave nectar, and corn syrup.  Replace them with raw honey, maple syrup, or turbino (raw) sugar.

3.  On the vein of sugars, say no to juice boxes, punches, and the like.  If it can sit on a shelf without refrigeration, you should pitch it.  Replace them with fresh squeezed, not-from-concentrate juices.  Remember, you are only getting the sugars from the fruit, not the fiber and other goodies you’d get from eating them, so limit juices and eat more fresh fruits.

4.  Also on the vein of sugars, if your pantry has anything with high fructose corn syrup, pitch it.  Too much research has shown that HFCS is causing many issues in our society’s health.  Better safe than sorry!

5.  If anything in your pantry says it has artificial flavorings, colorings, or artificial anything, get rid of it.  Artificial is, well, artificial.  Why eat anything that isn’t real?

6.  Stay away from anything that is “instant”, processed, or premade.  Most things in the “Boxed Dinners” aisle are full of artificial preservatives and other things that you shouldn’t eat if you want to be eating clean.

7.  Clean out your pantry of canned fruits and most veggies.  They have added salt and preservatives in the linings of the cans, plus most of the nutrients have been cooked out of them in the canning process.  Instead, use veggies and fruits that are fresh for best, and frozen for next best.  Exceptions to this are canned tomatoes.  They actually release nutrients when they are cooked.

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Do’s for a Clean Eating Pantry Makeover

Now that you have a list of Don’ts, it’s time to look at what you SHOULD fill your pantry with when you are clean eating!  Everything here is full of nutrients, is minimally processed, or not processed at all, and something that Grandma would recognize.

1.  Whole grains such as quinoa, oats, brown and wild rices, and bulgur make fantastic side dishes alone or when paired with fresh veggies.

2.  Easy homemade snacks, such as granola, are fantastic as a grab-and-go option.  Look for recipes that use honey and/or maple sugar as sweeteners, and add some nuts for great protein.  Or dry your own fruit without any additives.

3.  Pastas, especially whole grain pastas, and couscous make great additions to your clean eating pantry.

Clean Eating Pantry Makeover Labels

4.  Dried beans and lentils are a great source of protein.  I store my dried beans in matching and stacking rectangular containers, with masking tape labels that clearly label the type of bean they are.  Dried beans are easy to prepare.  You can soak them the night before you want to cook them by placing them in a bowl and covering with cold water, or you can put them right in a pot and boil them.  If you soak them, you cut your cooking time by about 50-75%!  Sometimes, though, I completely forget to soak them.  Just start your dish early, and you’ll be fine.  Lentils need no early preparation, as they cook in about 15 minutes.

5.  Add flavor to foods by using fresh or freshly dried herbs and spices.  If you don’t have space to grow your own, check local farmer’s markets.  Many farmers grow every herb you can think of and sell them pretty cheap.  Hang them upside down in a dry room in your home.  Within a few days, you’ll have a delicious way to season your foods without adding salt to them.

6.  This is more for your refrigerator and freezer, rather than your pantry.  When you do your shopping in the grocery store, try to stick to the outside walls of the store.  That’s usually where produce, meat, and dairy are located.  Typically, if something has a short “shelf life”, it’s included in a clean diet, such as beef, chicken, milk, and veggies.

If you are ever in doubt, think, “Is this something my grandmother would have recognized as food?”  That’s really a great way to think about your food and whether it is healthy for you or not.  If you are already eating clean, check your pantry for any lingering things that you might have missed.  If you are going to start eating clean, clean out that pantry!  If things are unopened and unexpired, consider donating them at your church or other location for a food pantry.  Opened things should go in the trash.  And if you are thinking about clean eating, give it a try!  There’s a whole world of delicious foods waiting to be explored with clean eating!

Clean Eating Pantry Makeover After

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