Pantry Spring Cleaning

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Someone said that this year it is as if Winter is angry and storms out only to come back and say "and another thing..."  I couldn't agree more and if you are like me, you are over it at this point, and ready to move on to spring,  One thing I love about the seasonal changes is removing the closet full of clothes that I am sick of wearing day in-day out and replacing them with a new season full of old, fun favorites that have been in storage all winter!  It's like shopping without spending any money!  Inevitably this activity leads to a little more spring cleaning throughout the house, so don't forget your pantry!

Cleaning out the pantry can be very energizing as you remove foods that you no longer tolerate well, are tired of eating (let's face it, it's been a long winter!), or aren't nourishing to your body.  

Here are some suggestions to Replace and Buy:

Replace: 

  • high fructose corn syrup in drinks, dressings, packaged foods, cookies; 
  • partially hydrogenated cookies, margarine, baked goods (look for the words "partially hydrogenated" in the ingredients label because the nutrition facts may show 0 trans fats when in fact its hidden in there);
  • white flour or products made with white flour such as pasta;
  • snacks that add a lot of calories, salt and fat, and are difficult to control the portion size such as bags of chips, pretzels, cookies;
  • less desirable oils such as lard and crisco, and high omega-6 oils such as corn, sunflower, cottonseed, safflower, and mixed vegetable oils - we want a better balance between omega 3 and omega 6.

Buy:

  • limited ingredient snacks, cookies or chips that contain ingredients you can pronounce, with healthier fats such as olive or avocado oil and limited sugars;
  • purchase whole grain whenever possible to increase your fiber intake - whole wheat is one option but some people find it too dry and lacking flavor so read the ingredients and look for any whole grains listed as the first ingredient;
  • nuts and seeds provide healthy fats, fiber, texture and flavor to any salad, trail mix or snack - Trader Joe's has a great selection of low salt or unsalted, roasted nuts at reasonable prices;
  • Sparkling water with no flavor or natural flavors can go a long way to replacing the soda and still providing the bubbly you are wanting - mix 100% juice and seltzer water in 1:2 ratio for a flavorful, lower sugar option;
  • beans are a great source of fiber and are very economical and can be added to many different dishes such as salads, side dishes, chili's or soups, or just on their own with sautéed onion and parsley or other herbs.

As we head into spring, embrace this lighter, more energizing season with foods that nourish your body and soul.