Spring Cleaning: Pantry Overhaul
By Staci Amend
February 12, 2015
Before you start ANY weight loss program—regardless of the time of year—it’s wise to do a thorough “spring cleaning” to get rid of potential temptations. If you’re working with Jenny Craig to reach your goal weight, your personal consultant likely walked you through this process at some point, and shared Jenny Craig’s Grocery List with you, too. But during the colder months, when our bodies are programmed to want more calories AND we’re spending more time indoors, it’s easy for your once-pristine pantry to collect comfort foods and other tempting items. Here’s a Jenny Craig-approved guide for getting your kitchen supplies back to a healthier place.
What to toss
Let’s start with the biggest no-brainer: junk food. This includes all those tantalizing cookies, candy, chocolate, chips, crackers, snack mixes and other empty calories.
You can also get rid of boxed dry meals, including instant flavored pastas or rice blends; even if they’re not high in fat, they’re usually loaded with sodium, which can derail your weight loss efforts. The same goes for any pre-mixed flavor blends you might have, like dry salad dressing mixes or taco seasoning. And, while you’re in a cleansing mood, you might as well get rid of all your regular soda as well.
What to keep
No healthy kitchen is complete without olive oil; its plentiful antioxidants and healthy fats make it an excellent companion to your weight loss program. Raw, unsalted nuts and seeds are also good to have on hand; their high protein and “good fat” content makes them a smart snack in small amounts.
Dry rice and pasta can be a slippery slope; you don’t necessarily have to toss these, particularly if you share your house with other hungry humans. But be prepared to enjoy these (and other starchy foods, like potatoes) in limited amounts and simple, healthy preparations. Your consultant can guide you here. Definitely keep (and stock up on) a variety of ground spices, which will be key to making all your foods more interesting and enjoyable, Just be sure to check your expiration dates.
Can’t stand waste?
It can be really challenging to throw away food that’s perfectly good—even if it’s not necessarily good for you. Consider donating any unopened items to your local homeless shelter. If you have “undesirables” that are already open, set them out on the kitchen counter, take inventory, and get creative. Could those sandwich cookies and dry pudding packets become a delicious pie you can share with your co-workers? Could those flavor packets be transformed into a tasty dip to bring to your next neighborhood party? Naughty-list items need not go to total waste, but they don’t need to go straight to your waist, either.