It’s that time of year. Take a walk through the neighborhood and you will see all kinds of yardwork in process. It feels good to get outside, get moving and start fresh.
Though my personal trainer role makes me want to keep going with the “get outside and get some work done” advice, focusing on cleaning up your nutrition can be just as beneficial. Start with one cabinet or drawer of your refrigerator.
Here are the steps, in case you are a step by step person:
- Empty it out. Set all of the contents on your counter top.
- Wipe it out. Starting fresh means starting with a clean slate. A clean shelf or drawer is healthier and motivating!
- Read expiration dates. Get out your trash can, and prepare to fill it. Anything expired needs to be tossed, and foods nearing their expiration should be placed in front or in clear view.
- Read labels. If you are trying to improve your overall diet, throw out canned or boxed items that contain hydrogenated oils. This indicates trans fats, even if the label states “zero trans fats.” Toss other foods that don’t fit into your goals, such as foods with large amounts of sugars or sodium.
- Make a list. Determine different ways to use the ingredients you have on hand. Write down your ideas, and plan out those meals or snack items to be consumed in the next week or two.
- Put it back. Organize by expiration date, fruits/vegetables, soups, spices, snack items, etc.
- If you decide to save snack or meal items that don’t work with your goals, make a designated area for them.
- Set rules for yourself and your kids as far as access to those items. Consider placing them out of direct eyesight.
- Revisit your plan for using items that remain in your newly organized area.
- Make a list of groceries you need to increase the nutrition in your space.
Groceries to improve a newly cleaned cabinet:
- Nuts and soy nuts
- Whole grain crackers, Reduced Fat Triscuits or Kashi
- Dried fruits like raisins
- Higher protein granola bars such as Nature Valley Protein
- Canned tuna/salmon
- Whole grain tortillas
- Light popcorn like Pirates Booty
- Sugar free/low-fat puddings
For a refrigerator cleanup:
- Low-fat string cheese
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Eggs/egg substitute
- Laughing Cow/BabyBel cheese
- Zero calorie sparkling waters such as La Croix
- Easy veggies, baby cucumbers and carrots
- Low-fat, soy, or almond milk