The anxiety caused by too many choices on every grocery aisle is enough to send anyone to the drive-through window! Our guest writer, Leslie Schilling of Schilling Nutrition Therapy, LLC (based in Memphis, TN), believes that food should not be complicated. Leslie is an MA, RD, CSSD, LDN nutrition expert, mom, cook, blogger, professional speaker and self-described “eater of real food”! In fact, her overriding message to all clients is: “Eat Real Food. Feel Real Good.®” Today, Leslie shares advice about spring cleaning your fridge, pantry and countertops for a healthier kitchen.
Spring has sprung! I don’t’ know about you, but this time of year I think about a clean house, budding trees, flowers and fresh produce. Like in many homes, the kitchen is the gathering place for my family and friends. Having a clean space can increase your time spent enjoying cooking at home and sharing a healthy meal. Check out my “three Cs” to get your spring-cleaning rolling in the kitch.
Cold Storage or Refrigerator
This is where most of your fresh food hangs out and, if it’s not kept clean and below 40 degrees, the really gross bacteria grows here as well. The first step for having a healthy kitch—keeping those refrigerator shelves and bins sparkling clean
- Start by using a cleaner you feel comfortable using in your home or a simple half-and-half vinegar and water solution in a spray bottle. Wipe down and wipe out all shelves and bins. Set your handy-dandy calendar to send you a reminder to do a quick wipe down on the same day of every month.
- Ditch expired dressings, condiments and food products along with those that have a never-ending ingredient list (like many fat-free products).
- Replace with more whole and lower-ingredient foods like fruits, veggies, fresh meats, eggs and regular dairy products like cheese, milk and Greek yogurt.
Cabinets or Pantry (or where the wild things are!)
If it will outlive you, you may not need to eat it very often. Now if you’re a doomsday prepper, you can put your uber-nonperishables in your Armageddon box and get them out of your pantry.
- Start by removing everything from the shelves and wiping down with your approved cleaner.
- Ditch heavily processed foods with a long list of ingredients. Now don’t get crazy. If the salad dressing you like most has a list of fifteen spices and herbs out of its eighteen ingredients, it’s fine. Get rid of items like complete meals in a box that you bought two years ago, those with unnatural amounts of added fiber (go old school—let fruits and veggies do the job), and those canned foods you do not remember purchasing.
- Replace with whole food snacks like nuts, nut butter, unsweetened dried fruits, and low-ingredient snacks. These items are your eye-level, go-to snack foods. Arrange your other frequently used foods like boxed/canned tomatoes, jarred tomato sauce, boxes of ready-to-use stocks, steel cut oats, etc. on other shelves.
This is where your visual eating triggers live, along with food prep ick. If your countertops look like a display at the big-box store, you may be eating a sample-buffet like a Sam’s Club store on Sunday afternoon too often.
- Start by removing everything from your countertops. Clean thoroughly with your approved cleaner.
- Ditch everything on the counters for now. Unless you have a very large kitchen, countertops aren’t for mail collection, purses, school projects or dishes from last week. We can set ourselves up for overeating by having snack bags and boxes hanging out on the counter. Put those things in your cabinets.
- Replace with, or add, a fruit bowl and maybe flowers if that makes you want to use the kitchen more. Keeping counters clean and free of snacks or clutter increases the likelihood that you’ll use those countertops for their intended use, food preparation. Don’t forget to wipe down after use to keep a clean and healthy kitchen.
What are you waiting for? Get cleaning!
Thank you Leslie!
You may have seen Leslie as a guest on both national and local TV programs, or perhaps you have read her articles in various media, but one of the best places to glean valuable advice from Leslie is on her popular blog, Born to Eat—a fun, easy-to-swallow dose of good advice about healthy, balanced living.
Learn more about Leslie and Schilling Nutrition Therapy, LLC, here: schillingnutrition.com