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Clean Out The Pantry and Mindful Shopping

Welcome to the first of my healthy habits resets!  I hope you are as excited about doing this as I am about sharing with you.  🙂  Anytime I feel like my diet has gotten off track, one of my first steps to getting back on track is to clean out my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. After cleaning out your junk food, go to the store with your health in mind and fill your house with healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables for snacking.    If you are inspired to get started, and complete these changes in the next week you can enter my first healthy habits giveaway (see the below for details).

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Before you start, take care of a few things:

  • Talk to your spouse or roommate to get them on board.  If your spouse or roommate is not on board, then find a place for the unhealthy foods that is out of sight.  Keep the healthy foods out and easily accessible.  For instance, keep a fruit bowl on the table.  
  • Talk  to your kids about how what you eat affects your health.  Share your goal of healthy eating and eating more fruits and vegetables.  They may not love the changes, but one of the best ways to keep kids from eating too much junk food is to keep it out of the house.  
  • Figure out when you are going to clean out your pantry and restock with healthier groceries.  Make sure you set aside enough time that you can get through all of it.  It’s ok if it’s not all at once, but try to make sure it is all done within a week or so in order to avoid setbacks.

Pantry Cleaning

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I think most of you probably have a pretty good idea of what is sitting around in your house sabotaging your healthy eating.  Personally, I have a weakness for chips!  They are crunchy, and salty, and I can eat way to many of them in one sitting.  In fact, I have some in my pantry right now that need to be discarded.  

Think about your junk food vices:

  • Soda
  • candy
  • chips
  • cookies
  • baked goods
  • frozen pizzas
  • juices
  • unhealthy dips
  • processed cheeses
  • french fries in the freezer

And other less than healthy foods to get rid of:

  • Most crackers (unless they are truly whole grain)
  • white bread or bread made with bleached or enriched flour (sometimes these are labeled as wheat bread but they are not much better than white bread)
  • white rice
  • pretzels
  • most frozen dinners
  • Processed meats (sausage, bacon, cold cuts)
  • Sports drinks
  • Reduced fat, low fat, or reduced calorie snack foods (these sound like a good idea but you are usually just replacing fat with carbs, and they often leave you hungry and prone to overeating)
  • sugary cereals and cereals that are not whole grain

I know some of you may balk at the idea of throwing away perfectly good food, but one of the best ways to eat healthy at home is to get rid of junk food.  And once you get rid of it, stop buying junk food.  In other words, out of site, out of mind.  If you can’t bring yourself to throw it away, donate what is not open.

Mindful Shopping

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Next, when you are at the grocery store,  have a plan which should include:

  • Your reason for shopping (making dinner or buying healthy snacks for the week)
  • Remember your goal of healthy eating before you enter the store and while you are there
  • Stick to the parts of the store with healthier foods, for instance the produce area
  • Avoid aisles that may trigger unhealthy purchases such as the chip and soda aisle
  • Make sure you have healthy snacks on your list, I recommend fruits, vegetables, healthy dips like hummus, natural nut butters (only ingredients should be the nut and possibly salt), nuts, seeds, and oatmeal or other whole grains for breakfast.    
  • Keep in mind the amount of prep time you are going to have.  If you know you are too busy to prep fruits and vegetables buy pre-chopped ones.  A veggie tray is always on my grocery store list.  
  • Instead of unhealthy drinks like soda and juice, choose healthier options like coffee, tea, herbal teas, sparkling water with a splash of lemon juice, and good old water.  

The Next Steps

Once you have taken these initial steps towards a healthier diet think about what you can do from there.  

  • I will have a future post on meal planning and why I consider it essential to my family maintaining a healthy diet.
  • Brainstorm healthy meal ideas that are easy and doable during a busy week.  
  • Think about how you can make your work place more conducive to eating healthy.  Can you bring healthy snacks?  Can you avoid certain areas of the office where jars of candy are out?  Can you bring your lunch?  If you like the social aspect of eating lunch at work can you make plans with a friend to eat your packed lunches together?  
  • Be mindful of eating out socially, before you go to a new restaurant or place to eat, look at the menu and see what options look healthy.  If you have a plan you’ll be less likely to end up with a double bacon cheese burger and fries.
  • If you are going to a party where you know you will be tempted to eat unhealthy items plan on eating before you go.
  • Remember that you don’t have to be perfect!  Focus on the steps that you have made to improve things instead of setbacks you’ve had.  
  • Remember that it’s ok to splurge now and then, just be mindful of it, and make sure to savor the food that you splurge on!

Enter the Giveaway 

If you complete this task before Tuesday, April 21 leave me a comment and you will be entered to win a copy of Food Rules by Michael Pollen for inspiration on your journey, or a weekly meal planner  — winner’s choice.  Please comment on why this post was helpful to you, what steps you took.  Also, let me know whether you think you can maintain mindful shopping and keeping the junk food out of your house in the future.   

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