Out with the old and in with the new. Spring is the perfect time to do a little cleaning in your kitchen to get on board with healthier foods for a healthier you.
How should I approach spring-cleaning my pantry and fridge to make them healthy?
My answer might surprise you. While you might think as a dietitian I am going to tell you to toss out every food item that isn’t a nutritional beacon of perfection, this isn’t the case. While I am going to challenge you to thin out the items that are not serving your health well, I wouldn’t ask you to strip your kitchen of all your favorite sweets and treats or what I call “soulful foods.”
Start by thinking of the non-negotiable soulful foods chosen for taste, enjoyment and social fun over nutrition. Eating “fully” is about eating both healthfully and soulfully. The best strategy for success is about wrapping healthy choices around your favorite non-negotiable soulful foods. It is all about choice – there are no bad foods, just bad overall diets.
What is the best way to manage junk food in my house?
Psychology research has identified what is known as the “pleasure principle” or the instinctual wiring to seek pleasure and avoid pain in order to satisfy biological and psychological needs. This means that simply trying to remove yummy salty and sweet foods from your diet altogether is destined to fail. Instead think about managing junk food rather than avoiding junk food.
There are a few ways to approach this and your success depends on your “eating personality” and goals:
• Some of my clients find removing hard to manage foods (such as chips or chocolate) out of their home environment altogether and instead go out for these. This can work best if you are someone that enjoys social weekends or finds it hard to manage mini portions each day.
• Other clients find they are able to manage a reasonable portion of soulful foods each day and find this is far more satisfying than how they feel with overdoing it on the weekend.
What are the healthiest convenience foods I can keep stocked in my house?
Convenience foods have a bad rap, but we often forget about the healthy convenience foods you can stock at home. Take a shortcut with:
1. Pre-cut fresh or frozen vegetables and fruit
2. Packaged salad or coleslaw mix
3. Canned diced tomatoes and legumes (lentils, chick peas and beans)
4. Shredded or pre-sliced cheese (can also be frozen)
5. Rotisserie chicken
6. Freeze individual portions of chicken breasts/thighs and fish fillets
7. Freeze lean ground meatballs
8. Veggie burgers, non-breaded turkey or chicken burgers, lean beef or bison burgers
9. Pre-sliced meat (stir-fry and stewing)
10. Canned fish (tuna, sardines and salmon)
11. Frozen, peeled shrimp and other seafood
13. Frozen edamame beans
14. Nuts and seeds
15. Whole grain pizza crusts or ready-made dough (can be frozen)