As we start to move closer to spring, it seems a perfect opportunity to focus on the fridge and pantry as major areas where a clean out can inspire some serious weight loss. Consider also applying these tips to your workplace kitchen and snack drawer and car glove box too for maximum benefit.
Creating order in your kitchen will help you to cook healthier food faster. Prepping and pre-cooking healthy main dishes will mean you’re organised and ready ahead of time which, as we all know, is half the battle. Organising your fridge and pantry will help inspire more home cooking, awareness of ingredients, and portion size.
Some people like to these clearouts in stages – I’m more intense than that so I always aim to do it over the course of a day so it’s done and dusted in one fell swoop! The weekends are usually best, or else a quiet morning during the week if you work from home or are a stay-at-home parent. If it all feels too overwhelming, then ask someone to help or take it a shelf at a time – there’s no rush, but you will feel instantly better when you do it – satisfaction guaranteed!
7 Fridge Clearout Suggestions
1. Your fridge is one of the best representations of your buying and eating patterns. Be aware of having too many refined or sugary foods in there, which are linked to obesity and food cravings.
2. Learn to read food labels so you know what to throw out and what to keep. Read our guide to labels here.
3. Keep fruits and vegetables in the crisper drawers and be clear on which do and don’t require refrigeration – make sure you have a nice, colourful selection on show such as plenty of leafy greens with perhaps some red peppers and juicy tomatoes.
4. Protein foods should be prominent: turkey, chicken, prawns, smoked salmon, lean meats and cheese should be in the middle shelf where you won’t miss them – they will form the basis of all your meals.
5. Relish, condiments, and dressings should go in the door of the fridge where temperature fluctuates – remember Ballymaloe relish is a handy one and can be used in moderation and mustard can be used liberally.
6. Keep milk on the top shelf along with waters so you see it and drink regularly.
7. Consider creating a healthy treat section with hard-boiled eggs, greek yoghurt or hummus or a bean-based healthy dip.
7 Healthy Pantry Makeover Suggestions
1. A clean out is likely in order and helps you identify anything that needs to go. Toss items packed with sugar, sodium and preservatives, and anything that is really unhealthy. Use unrefined sweeteners in moderation during weight loss, such as coconut palm sugar or stevia.
2. Read cereal labels, which are notorious for hidden sugars and sodium. Go for whole grains instead – stick to just weetabix and porridge or some low sugar granola.
3. Get rid of packaged or jars of sauces – for example, instead of a stir-fry sauce, make your own with soya sauce, lemon juice and some chilli and garlic. By swapping packets with whole, ‘real’ foods, you’re also likely to save money into the bargain! For
4. Next, make sure you have a heap of healthy foods on hand to– nuts (and nut butters), dates, olives, seeds, popcorn etc…are all great. Always have on hand basic healthy staples – extra virgin olive oil and spray, lentils, beans (canned and dried), seeds and nuts, tomato paste, and tinned fish such as tuna or sardines are all super healthy.
5. Update your storage containers: Food storage containers need to be easy to use, easy to clean and easy to store. If yours are not, replace them immediately. Use clear canisters for pastas, nuts and granola to help them stay fresh and give them more visual appeal by sorting by type.
6. Balsamic vinegar is a great option for salad dressings and can be used liberally.
7. Spices and herbs can be used as much as you like also – so make sure to stock up! So are stock cubes which are great in tasty soups during winter.
Next thing you’ll know you’ll be clearing out your wardrobe – to make way for clothes that are a size smaller!
Now that is a realistic and exciting goal for spring!
Happy healthy fridge and pantry decluttering!