One Small Change: Spring Cleaning in the Kitchen

Spring cleaning the kitchen means more than mopping the floor; it's a good time to toss processed junk food and fill your fridge and pantry back up with healthier snacks and staples.

The weather is getting warmer and spring cleaning is in full effect for many of us throughout the house. When you get to the kitchen, don't stop after mopping the floors; take a look at the cabinets, pantry and fridge. It's a good time to capitalize on the new season to overhaul your home food environment; clearing out unhealthy foods is a great first step toward making better eating decisions at home. But once you've cleared your pantry of the not-so-healthy processed foods (see our list of the 5 worst offenders and toss those first) and the foods that have been lurking for months past their expiration date, don't make the mistake of filling your pantry back up with junk.

Restock the Pantry Wisely: Once you clean out our pantry and fridge, there may be a pretty large void staring back at you. So what should you fill it with? Of course, the obvious answers are: fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats, etc. But let’s consider another topic near and dear to many of our hearts: snacks. Small, frequent meals require that we have access to nutritious food throughout the day and sometimes we do not want to sauté a stir fry at 3 PM in the afternoon. When choosing snacks for your pantry, consider:

  • Ready-to-go snacks that make healthier decisions easier such as pre-cut fruits, veggies, low-fat string cheese and yogurt.
  • What snacks can you have around the house that will satisfy you without temping you to overindulge? For me, that’s 85% dark chocolate. I can have a couple pieces to satisfy my sweet tooth, but I know I won’t be tempted to have the entire bar. Other options may be dates, nuts, or whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk.

Prevent Your Eyes from Getting Bigger than Your Stomach:

  • Get rid of candy or snack bowls sitting around the house: out of sight, out of mind!
  • Consider downgrading the size of your dishes: Cornell researcher Dr. Brian Wansink ran a series of studies showing that we tend to eat less when we eat with smaller plates, bowls and utensils.
  • Break out that Tupperware: When cooking, especially in large batches, put any extra food immediately into portion-sized containers and stow it away in the fridge or freezer. You’ve reduced your likelihood to overeat at meal time and have increased your access to healthy, easy-to-prepare (reheat) lunches and dinners later in the week.
Tell Us: What spring cleaning are you doing in your kitchen and home eating environment?

Next Up

One Small Change: What Causes Cravings?

Ever had a junk food craving you just couldn't ignore? The first step in resisting cravings is finding out what causes them.

One Small Change: A Powerhouse Pairing

Imagine some classic food pairings: wine and cheese, fruit and nuts, steak and potatoes…iron and vitamin C?

One Small Change: The Three Week Challenge

If your New Year's resolution has many different components, consider revising it to include one healthy change; if you maintain it for 3 weeks, there's a good chance it will stick.

One Small Change: Make a S.M.A.R.T Resolution

This year, instead of empty promises, make a SMART resolution that will stick.

One Small Change: Avoid the Health Halo

Healthy-sounding terms like "organic" "low-carb" or "all-natural" don't mean a food has fewer calories than similar foods without labels. Are you guilty of falling for foods with health halos?

One Small Change: Another Old Friend, Corn

Jason Machowsky weighs in on the health benefits of corn.

Spring Cleaning Kitchen Tips and Ideas

The kitchen is the center of most homes, making it the most heavily trafficked room and a target for dust, grime and general buildup. Kick off spring cleaning by zeroing in on basic zones for a better kitchen.

One Small Change: Your Old Friend, the Potato

Potatoes often get a bad reputation in the health world, but these spuds actually have some great nutritional benefits. The key is preparing them right

One Small Change: How Often Should I Eat?

When thinking about a healthy lifestyle, we often discuss what we should be eating - but what about when we should be eating?

One Small Change: What Makes Superfoods So Super?

Superfoods have been all the rage for years, but what makes them so super? Should you spend extra money on exotic ones, or can you find them in your grocery store?