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Pantry Purge

pantryYou’re afraid to open the cupboard, aren’t you? It’s all gonna come crashing down if you open it … don’t do it!

Maybe your pantry and cupboards aren’t overstuffed and disorganized to that degree, but sometimes it seems like we keep buying things because we forget what we’ve already got. Or, we’re just in the habit of buying pasta because that’s what everybody eats, isn’t it?

It’s time to rethink your pantry. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be an extension of the “safe haven” that I talked about in the “There’s No Place Like Home” blog. Your pantry, cupboards, refrigerator and freezer reflect the value you place on having healthy food choices prepared and available for your family and you at all times.

Today we’re going to purge the junk to make room for the healthier items we’ll be bringing in. To simplify things, let’s think about the items in terms of RED, YELLOW and GREEN LIGHT FOODS.

red-lightRED LIGHT FOODS: These are the ones you want out of your pantry and cupboards. Just throw them out. Don’t give them to a neighbor or a food bank. Everyone’s better off without them!

They are: all processed foods with partially hydrogenated oils such as peanut butter, cookies, chips, and crackers; most refined grain products such as white bread and rolls, pita bread, instant or quick-cook oatmeal, pancake / biscuit / muffin / cake mix, white flour tortillas, pretzels; cereals with more than 1-2 grams of sugar per serving; refined fats such as shortening; all flavored drink mixes (not just Kool-Aid, but even calorie-free drinks like Crystal Light); canned fruit packed in syrup; fake “maple syrup” that’s actually maple flavored corn syrup; “fruit chews,” which are indeed chewy, but are not fruit by any stretch of the imagination; white or milk chocolate. And anything else that’s in there that you know is bad for you!

Now we move on to those foods which are acceptable to have around as long as you use them sparingly.

yellow-lightYELLOW LIGHT FOODS: These are trickier because they’re okay sometimes, but they can easily move into RED LIGHT FOOD territory depending on how they’re used and whether they’re a “trigger” food for you or someone in your family. They’re yellow because you must exercise caution!

They are: refined grains and refined grain products like white flour, corn meal, pasta (all kinds, white and wheat); other grains including rice (white and brown), pearled barley, couscous; sugar (in all forms other than honey and pure maple syrup); nut butters made with palm oil; canned products that aren’t marked “low sodium” (soup, tomatoes, beans, vegetables); whole grain crackers; processed “protein” bars; breakfast cereals with up to 9 grams of sugar per serving; vegetable oils.

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I realize it’s an exhaustive list, and you may feel like there is little left to eat! I assure you there is plenty left to eat (or if not, a quick trip to the grocery store will remedy that).

Thursday’s blog “The Proactive Pantry” will look at the long list of GREEN LIGHT FOODS that will fill in all the space left by clearing out the bad stuff, so stay tuned!

Losing weight is hard, but it gets easier when your home is a “safe haven” where the only food choices to be made are good ones. And you’re so damn worth it!

Let’s go get it!

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