Cleaning out the kitchen
If you are planning on having an exceptionally healthy year then the best place to start is in the kitchen. It is hard to maintain healthy habits if you have on hand food that isn't part of these new habits. I have always maintained if it isn't there you cannot be tempted to eat it. Which works for both healthy and unhealthy food choices. So while this is more about getting out the unhealthy foods I will be sharing with you how to bring in the healthy foods.
Have you got a few left over treats from Christmas? Have some things sneaked back in that you know aren’t good for you? My grandfather used to have a snack drawer perfectly positioned right next to his chair. So he could just open it and help himself to whatever he felt like while he watched TV! If this is you then it may be time for a kitchen clean up.
Here are some simple guidelines:
#1 - Natural ingredients: sometimes we need to be reminded that natural ingredients are healthy ingredients. This is where most store brought “processed foods” are likely to fall short. The fewer ingredients in products (ideally one ingredient) the better. For example individual spices rather than a spice mix, where MSG or other flavour enhancers may have sneaked in.
#2 - Read labels: it's hard to avoid some processed foods, if you want to start making healthier food choices then you need to know what you are bringing into your kitchen. Being a bit of a sleuth is very much needed and reading glasses are a must. You may get a bit of a fright when you see what some “homemade” or “healthy” foods contain.
#3 - No Waste: Only buy in things that you know you are going to use up, there is no point buying some exotic ingredient for one dish and then have it languish in the cupboard or hide out in the back of the fridge.
Here is a simple way to get rid of those unwanted foods but without wasting anything:
Get a box
Go through your grocery cupboards and read the labels of what you have on hand
Check for unhealthy ingredients and expiry dates, normally things will be OK about 6 month after the best before date.
Things to watch out for - seasonings, spices, sauces, cereals
Place all these items in a box and then decide if you are so shocked by what you found that you want to give it away or you feel you are going to miss it so much you want one last meal with it.
Do the same in your fridge dedicate a shelf to all the items that you want to live without. Likely offenders could be - salad dressing, sauces, chutneys etc
Plan your meals around using up these ingredients as quickly as possible.
Try not to bring these foods back into your kitchen. If you are the one doing the shopping you have control over what comes into your kitchen. Family members may nag about a treat that is no longer around, offer them a healthy alternative and after a while they will forget about the treat. What you don't see you won't miss (as much)
When I did this I felt I knew what I had on hand and what I needed to use up and also what I didn't want in my cupboards anymore. You may find that you now have a bit more space and for me nothing is better than an uncluttered kitchen, it makes spending time in it a pleasure.
PS The photo is not my kitchen cupboard, mine are fuller and less tidy than this. I tried to find a photo of unhealthy cluttered cupboards but that wasn't very inspiring so I went for something stylish instead and I liked the owl.