The truth is, when we set "health and wellness goals," we often forget to set ourselves up for success in the smallest details--like how our pantry looks.
Believe it or not, where (and how) you store your food can have a huge impact on your goals, your progress, and your overall health.
I did this live video on Facebook, sharing how I clean out and reorganize my pantry every 6 months. I have come up with 5 tips that really help me stay refreshed and on track with my health and wellness goals. (Psst! Watch the replay here).
1. Don’t Touch It! Toss It!
When cleaning out your pantry, take a deep look into what you truly use and what is just taking up space. If you have not used an ingredient or opened that dusty box of graham crackers in months, get ready to toss it. Remember: You don’t have to throw food out if it is not expired or stale, you can always donate your unwanted items to a local food pantry, your office/co-workers, or neighbors!
2. The Truth About Treats
While it’s nice to have treats in the house for the undying cravings and celebrations, the truth is: when they are around, we will eat them. So take a moment to get real with yourself on two things. One: does your treat section in your pantry out-weigh the healthy stuff? If so, let’s work on creating more balance or even moving the needle in the opposite direction. Two: which foods are your weakness? Cookies? Chips? Candy? Find which foods are the hardest for you to say no to, and consider freeing yourself from them if you find you have a hard time controlling your portions with them. If they aren’t in the house, you will be more inclined to reach for a different treat that doesn’t throw your game completely off.
3. Bulk-ify Your Foods
Whether or not you buy foods in bulk already, consider storing them as if you do. What does this mean? Keeping grains, snacks, cereals, and different cooking ingredients in clear glass or plastic storage containers makes for an easy way to organize your space and gives you better insight into what (and how much) food you really have. Tip: while you’re at it, try testing out the bulk section at your local grocery store--you’d be surprised how much money you’ll save and packaging waste you’ll avoid. If you want to shop with your personal storage containers and fill them right in the store, just have the cashier weigh your container first before filling it up!
4. Eye On The Prize
Believe it or not, where things are stored in your pantry play a big part in how well you cycle through your stored foods and how well you stay on track with your healthy eating habits. Storing your favorite treats front and center in your pantry only makes it harder for you to say no to these foods. If they are tucked off to the side while the healthier options are at eye-level, you will be more likely to reach for these rather than the chips and candy you have a hard time controlling your cravings for. BONUS: What do we do when it comes to
our family’s snacks? This is one issue we hear a lot, but don’t worry--there’s a way to make this work! First try talking to the other adults in the house to see if they would be on board with tossing or donating the foods that aren’t supporting your health goals. If that is not an option, try storing these snacks and treats out-of-sight by putting them in plastic storage bins or drawers. This way, it takes more effort to reach for your spouse’s or kids’ treats rather than the healthier options that are more visible.
5. Cool, Dark Place
We often see on different food labels, recipes, or in our cooking magazines that certain foods should be stored in a “cool, dark place.” However, there is some reason to this rhyme when it comes to storing different produce--which ones go in a pantry? Which ones go in the fridge? Can they all be stored together? The most common and spoil-proof rule I can share with you: keep your onions and potatoes in the pantry, but do not store them together. The gasses that an onion gives off can affect the spoiling of your potatoes. So while they both need to stay in cool, dark places, be sure to keep them on opposite shelves and/or sides of your pantry for better shelf life.
Want a quick pantry clean out reference for yourself? Get the free PDF here!