Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Healthy Habits Challenge March: Eat Real Food, Part 1- Healthy Pantry Makeover

Welcome to month 3 of our Healthy Habits Challenge.  Deb and Cami have both shared some of their New Year's goals of getting healthy and eating less sugar. Both of these are goals of mine too, but for March I’m sharing another goal, to feed my family REAL food. 

A few weeks ago I was in spring cleaning mode and decided to clean and reorganize my pantry. While doing that I discovered that I could feed a small country with the amount of pasta I had. Possibly the worst thing to have in my pantry and I had that much of it. So I decided to just toss them and get them out of my house so I wasn't tempted to eat it. So this leads me to my topic for the week: Tips on a Healthy Pantry Makeover.

As I’ve thought about how to accomplish eating healthy food it's really simple
If you surround yourself with healthy food, then you’ll eat healthy food! 

Here are a few tips that I’ve found helped me to surround myself with healthy foods. 

  • Make a shopping list for the grocery store and stick to it! Knowing what I’m eating for the week helps me to stay focused and not buying unnecessary food. Dr. Oz has created a great list of food to place in your shopping cart. You can't go wrong with any of these! (list found here)

  • Don’t shop when you’re hungry. This is when you tend to buy the most junk food. You’re hungry waiting in the check out line, one snickers bar doesn’t seem so bad, right? Wrong. That’s so many empty calories that you didn’t need to eat. If you find yourself always hungry at the store then pack around protein bars in your purse so you always have a healthy option on hand!   
  • Read food labels. Deb talked about how to read them here. If there are ingredients listed that you can’t even pronounce, put it down and find another option. Fewer ingredients means healthier food!   
Try sticking to these tips on your next shopping day; you might surprise yourself at the different food you'll come home with!

Inside The Gem has a great list of food to toss and foods to embrace:

1. White rice and pasta.
2. Salty, fried snack foods like potato chips and corn chips. Especially those with chemicals and color.
3. Vegetable oil. It’s acidic and tasteless.
4. Sugary cereals, boxes with BRIGHT COLORS, OR PRIZES INSIDE
5. Canned soups, make your own and freeze the extra.
6. High Fructose corn syrup drinks.
7. Yogurt with artificial sweeteners and colors.
8. Anything labeled sugar free, fat free or ‘lite.’ If they can’t spell it right, it’s wrong.
9. Take a look at the ingredients in your condiments. Try making your own salad dressing.
10. Frozen entrees. Lean Cuisines are loaded in preservatives and sodium.

1. Whole grains like long grain brown rice and quinoa. Whole grain cereals. Go Lean Crunch is pretty tasty! Bob’s Red Mill Oatmeal is a winner.
2. Nuts.  Raw almonds and pumpkin seeds rock my world. Dried and/or dehydrated fruit. Sliced frozen bananas or grapes are awesome in the summer.
3. Healthy oils like canola, olive, coconut. Spices like Jalapeno Lemon Pepper or Tommy’s Coffee Rub are amazing additions to spice up your foods.
4. There is no finer snack than popcorn made with coconut oil and sea salt.
5. Canned beans: cannelini, black, pinto, lentils. (Dried are best). Beans and rice topped with salsa and avocado is a perfect protein meal.
6. Sparkling water and limes–the perfect cooler.
7. Nonfat plain Greek yogurt
8. Domestic (or local), seasonal fruits and veggies. Keep all the ingredients for a quick smoothie in the pantry and freezer. Amazing Meals is a great vegan protein addition! 9. Hummus, tamari sauce, salsa, guacamole.
10. Homemade chili or soup.  Keep in the freezer for quick access. 

I hope these tips help you take control of the food in your pantry and can start surrounding yourself with the foods that are good for the body!

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