It’s time to start fresh and get a healthier lifestyle. It can start with doing spring cleaning in your cupboards. Not only do you probably have some expired food, if you’re like me, but you also have food that doesn’t fit with your new lifestyle. When I say cupboard, I mean refrigerator and freezer, too. Getting rid of unhealthy food gives you room to store healthier options that fit with a new lifestyle. If you’re grappling with the cost of the food you’ll be pitching, just remember the savings in medical bills.
Start with the most obvious.
Junk food like candy, cookies, chips, soda and sugar-added fruit juice. When you do, make a list of healthy snacks and everything you’ll need to make them. It may not require extra work, like nuts and fresh fruit, or minimal preparation, such as fresh veggies and a healthy dip. You’ll be ready for those down times when you want something to tide you over and won’t be tempted to snack on junk.
Read the labels on the food you have left.
You’ll be surprised at how much added sugar there is in most foods and some of the hard to pronounce preservatives added. The ingredients are listed by volume, so those ingredients at the top are more plentiful in the food. Manufacturers are wise to consumers reading labels, so often they give sugar several names or use various types of sugar and list those individually. If dextrose is number three on the ingredients, sucrose number four and high fructose corn syrup number five, you can bet that sugar is the top ingredient. See what the serving size is and how many servings are in each container and whether it’s an unrealistically small amount. Check nutrients, carbs, protein and fat in the food.
Making those tough calls can be a struggle.
Some of the food you may have in your cupboard aren’t exactly bad for you, but they aren’t good for you either. It’s a tough call and if you keep them, can prevent you from purchasing those with far more nutrition. If you have a few microwave meals, burritos or not healthy-yet not horrible food, it’s a tough call. You can throw them out or plan to use them spaced out over a period of time and use them to complement healthier dishes.
Maybe it’s time to throw a party. Make it a junk food clean out party. You can serve both healthy dishes and the unhealthy food you want to pitch. It’s easier to throw away left over junk than the actual junk food sometimes.
Most food banks no longer accept junk food, like candy and chips. Before you take the food you’re pitching, call ahead to find out what they accept.
Create a plan of action. You can start by planning weekly meals and making a grocery list. Do all your food prep on the weekend, making extra of each. Stock your freezer with these extras and before long, you’ll have enough to take a week away from cooking.
Don’t just look at food, look at what you drink, too. Soft drinks are huge offenders that can affect your overall health.