What's in your pantry?

 What's in your pantry?

If you want to eat right, you gotta shop right. If you do not prepare for your grocery shopping experience, you may find yourself wandering aimlessly around the supermarket tossing random items in the cart that fit the "this is not too bad" category rather than the "this will go beautifully with ..." category. If you want to eat well, you must shop with that intention.

What's in your pantry?

Extreme Pantry Makeover

Before heading off to the supermarket, the first step in making over your pantry is to purge (the pantry that is). Grab a trash bag and go through the fridge and the pantry with the intention of purging the junk, which is just about anything that is processed or has a shelf-life longer than one week. You might even consider giving away these processed foods to a local food pantry for those in need. The next step is to create a shopping list. Really put some time into thinking about your meals for the week. Think through the next seven days and come up with 21 breakfasts, lunches and dinners. There can be some overlap, but make your meals interesting enough that you will actually follow through with eating the food you purchased.

As you shop, consider the following supermarket tips:

  1. Go Green. Only buy what you can realistically eat in a week. It is easy to go crazy in the produce section of the supermarket because everything is beautiful and bright.
  2. Diversify your portfolio. Treat your body like a mutual fund. Would you put all your money in one business? Of course not! Diversify your produce portfolio. I make a habit of not walking out without at least four colors represented from the produce section and one veggie or fruit that I have either never had or rarely eat.
  3. Fishin' for heart health. The American Hearth Association recommends eating fish at least two to three times per week. Salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna, snapper, flounder, sardines are all excellent choices. Avoid frying and adding a breading in order to reap maximum health benefits.
  4. Fabulous Fiber. A diet rich in whole grains is essential for properly sustained energy. Whole grain foods include brown rice, bulgur, corn, oats, whole barley, whole rye, and whole wheat. Be sure to keep your pantry stocked with wild rice as it provides additional protein, riboflavin, and zinc.
  5. Beef up with beans. Beans provide protein along with the added benefit of containing fiber which promotes heart health. Choose from various types including black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo, soybeans and kidney beans.
  6. Snacks with sass. There is room in a healthy diet for snacking, so long as you are smart about it. Choose low calorie, nutrient dense snacks to make sure you are actually feeding your body and not just your cravings. Add some low-fat dairy to the shelves in your fridge for calcium without packing in the calories. Low-fat yogurt, skim milk, and frozen yogurt make for excellent snacks as well. Trail mixes, nuts, dried fruit, and nutrition bars are also quick, easy and nutritious.

Your makeover has been a success if you have restocked with whole grains, low-fat dairy, and healthy snack options. Be sure to prepare meals at home as often as possible and create dishes with a wide variety of colors, textures, shapes, and temperatures.

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