Spring Clean Your Pantry
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Give your kitchen a healthy makeover

a woman replaes a clear glas bottle on a shelf with many other bottles containing different grains and flours

Spring is the perfect time to do a little cleaning, organizing and reevaluating in your kitchen to get on board with healthier foods for a healthier you. Toss or donate those foods you’ll never eat and discover favourites hidden at the back of your cupboards that will inspire you to change up your cooking routine. Reorganize the shelves as part of your spring clean to make items easier to find and cook with.

How to spring clean your pantry and fridge


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.

How to Organize Your Pantry


  • Separate like items – put all carbs, protein sources, sauces, veggies, baking items etc. in their respected piles
  • Look at the date of each item and organize them from newest to oldest ** see below about dates on food items
  • Organize your pantry with easy access to those items you use more often, usually being on the shelves up front and at eye level.
  • When your putting items back into your pantry have a system
    • either put in sections like step one, back in your pantry or
    • you can separate into things you would use for one meal – for example all canned beans and tomatoes to make chili
  • Keep a list accessible for you and your family members to see what is in the pantry and also document when things are running low


an open regrigerator with eggs and juices on the door shelves and fresh fruits and vegetables on the main shelves


\What is the best way to manage snacks or junk food?


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 healthy 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. Frozen individual portions of chicken breasts/thighs and fish fillets
7. Frozen lean ground meatballs (store bought or home made)
8. Veggie burgers, non-breaded turkey or chicken burgers, lean beef or bison burgers
9. Pre-sliced meats (stir-fry and stewing)
10. Canned fish (tuna, sardines and salmon)
11. Frozen, peeled shrimp and other seafood
12. Eggs
13. Frozen edamame beans
14. Nuts and seeds
15. Whole grain pizza crusts or ready-made dough (can be frozen)


Click here for a printer-friendly PDF of this article


Watch my previous appearance on Global TV below:



We hope you are inspired to spring clean your pantry and make finding and eating your best healthful and soulful foods more convenient. You may aslo enjoy thse articles on healthy snacking and meal planning:



Looking for more simple meal planning tips and healthy recipes for a healthier lifestyle? Sign up for our weekly newsletter for a healthy recipe of the week (and nutrition articles and videos with a balanced living philosophy to help encourage healthy habits but still save room for your favorites). Our nutrition newsletter is written by the Online / Calgary Nutritionists on our team who each hold a professional Registered Dietitian license to ensure you are getting credible advice.

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