Make it easy to eat better by getting rid of unhealthy temptations and stocking up on healthy foods.
1. Purge Your Pantry
Start by removing all food items from your pantry and cupboards. Designate some counter space to go through each item. First, check expiration dates and discard expired items. Next, decide which items to save or donate. Keep in mind that getting rid of unhealthy stuff makes it much easier to eat well. To determine which items stay or go, read food labels and ditch products containing:
- Ingredients you cannot pronounce or that look like a chemistry experiment.
- More than 10 ingredients on the label. The fewer the ingredients, the better.
- More than 10 grams of sugar per serving, unless it’s a cheat meal option.
- Artificial sweeteners: saccharin (Sweet N’ Low), aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet), sucralose (Splenda).
- Artificial coloring/dyes: blue lake, red #40, yellow #5, etc.
- GMO ingredients, such as non-organic corn or soy.
- Manmade fats: canola, corn oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, etc. and anything hydrogenated.
- Refined sugars: sucrose, dextrose, maltodextrin, corn syrup, agave, brown rice syrup, cane sugar, etc.
- Bonus: Wheat/gluten, such as flour, barley, rye, breading, bread crumbs, etc.
Clean shelves and organize items as you put them back. Being organized can prevent food waste and save time in the kitchen. Labels also help keep the new system in place. Add a “snack” zone for the kids, a “cheat” meal zone for weekends, and a “seasoning” zone for herbs and spices.
After the pantry is complete, then repeat the process with fridge and freezer items.
2. Stock Your Kitchen
Stock your kitchen, so you always have something healthy on hand. Choose whole, one-ingredient foods over processed products. Opt for the highest quality foods you can afford, such as organic and grass-fed.
- Proteins: canned salmon/sardines, whey protein, jerky
- Fats & oils: avocado oil, coconut butter/oil/milk/cream/flakes, ghee, macadamia nut oil, olive oil, palm oil
- Gluten-free: cookies, crackers, pasta, wraps, granola, trail mix, etc.
- Sweeteners: cinnamon, stevia, raw honey, pure maple syrup, fresh or dried fruit (dates, raisins)
- Sweets & Baking: chocolate bars, cacao powder, cacao butter, cacao nibs, coconut flour, vanilla extract
- Other: coffee, tea, vinegar, sea salt, dried herbs/spices, seaweed, kale chips
- Staples: butter, dressings, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, olives, coconut aminos
- Daily: proteins, vegetables, fruits, bone broth
- Cultured: kombucha, kefir, yogurt, kvass, cheese, sauerkraut
- Other: Paleo/sprouted/sourdough bread, nut/seed butter, salsa, guacamole, cottage cheese
- Proteins: beef, pork, chicken, turkey, bacon, shrimp, sausage, etc.
- Vegetables: spinach, kale, broccoli, green beans, etc.
- Fruits: berries, cherries, banana, etc.
- Other: butter, chia seeds, flax seeds, Paleo bread, nuts, seeds, almond flour
3. Make it Easy
Now that you’ve tossed the bad stuff and stocked up on the good, you need to figure out the best way to make these upgrades delicious and doable for you and your family.
- Come up with 5 no-excuse meals you can make in minutes such as…
- frozen shrimp with frozen vegetables and coconut aminos
- canned salmon soup with bone broth and frozen vegetables
- rotisserie chicken served in a Paleo wrap with Primal Kitchen Ranch
- yogurt with berries and cinnamon
- Paleo bread with almond butter and sliced bananas
- Grocery shop online with Thrive Market, US Wellness Meats, Butcher Box and Instacart
- Invest in helpful appliances: Sous Vide, Vitamix, and Instant Pot
- Sign up for Meal Delivery with Pete’s Paleo or Paleo on the Go
- Plan 1-2 cheat meals per week to indulge
4. Reduce Toxin Exposure
Reduce your exposure to toxins in your kitchen with the following tips:
- Opt for organic foods whenever available.
- Avoid plastic in cups, plates, utensils, containers, canned foods, grocery totes, and produce bags.
- Select more natural hand soap, dish soap, dish detergent, and all-purpose cleaners.
- Ditch the non-stick cookware. Glass, ceramic, enameled, stainless steel and cast iron work well.
- Filter water with a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system, a Berkey or Zero water pitcher.
- Avoid the microwave and use safer heating methods such as sautéing, braising, baking or broiling.
Cate Ritter is a Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner specializing in weight loss, digestive health and hormone balance. In-person, Skype, phone and corporate health programs available.