Our kitchen and pantry can be tempting places when we’re feeling starved, stressed, bored, upset or even anxious. How many times have you imagined the contents inside, only to find yourself rummaging through shelves and drawers a moment later? While there is no doubt a mental and emotional factor at play when it comes to our eating habits, it also helps to set ourselves up for success by making healthy choices when it comes to what you purchase from the supermarket. Aren’t you more likely to indulge in a bag of chips if it’s front and center in your kitchen pantry?
Kitchen and Pantry Edition: Finding Balance in Your Healthy Lifestyle
Now, that’s not to say there’s no room for sweet treats, salty sensations and other self-proclaimed “off-limits” foods in your household. As with any good thing in life, the key is to practice and maintain moderation. However, there are a couple of quick and easy tips you can implement in your kitchen to help you lay the groundwork for healthy nutrition habits. Let’s explore:
1. Assess the Ratio of Junk Food vs. Nutritious Food
Take a look at what’s inside your kitchen. What do you have more of – processed foods with extra sugar, salt and fat or different types of produce, lean meats, legumes, nuts and dairy options? You’ll want to strive for the latter so you always have healthful food on-hand when you want to have a snack or prepare a meal. However, there’s nothing wrong with indulging here and there, so long as nutrient-rich foods make up the majority of your diet.
2. Dive Deep and Clean-out the Unnecessary
Admittedly, this can be a painful process. What foods are you willing to keep and what foods are you willing to toss out? Use this time to imagine what you want for your weight and health. Then apply those goals to the task at hand. Is that bag of miniature chocolates a little too tempting to have around? Keep a few and toss the rest. Have you been trying your best to avoid that processed can of ravioli that’s been sitting in the back for weeks? Go ahead and chuck it. Don’t be afraid to save a few things when it’s an okay time to indulge, but don’t keep yourself from making healthy adjustments that are manageable.
3. Hit the Supermarket
Are you suddenly faced with a bare refrigerator or pantry? Don’t worry, you won’t go hungry. Grab a spouse or loved one and hit up the supermarket for an exciting trip. Work within your budget to stock-up on foods that meet your nutrition goals. Visit the produce section for yummy fruits and veggies, check-out meats on sale, search for healthy, low/no-processed snacks and peruse the dairy section for options that will complement your meals and snacks. Have a grocery list on-hand when you go.
4. Organize with a Strategic Plan
Yes, the way you organize your kitchen and food items does help! Bring your produce, lean meats and other healthy items to the front where they’re easily noticed and convenient to grab. Store those “emergency” indulgent foods toward the back or on their own separate shelf. Essentially, this step is to help you make the healthy choice the easy choice.
Oftentimes we consider our kitchen to be the heart of our homes. It’s where we make precious memories and gather with our families for wholesome, feel-good foods. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. But to make your weight and health a priority, it sometimes helps to have a watchful eye on what you let enter your refrigerator or pantry.