What do you have in your pantry right now? Did you know that what you have, or don’t have, could be causing your bad eating habits? Let’s do a mini pantry overhaul, and work to put some healthier food choices into your cupboards, to replace the processed and unhealthy stuff:-)
First, check out your current pantry, and try to remove anything that has boxes with lots of colors and long ingredient lists, these tend to be full of preservatives and chemicals. Also pull out any sugary snacks and treats, they are sabotaging your healthy eating plans, we will work to replace those snacks with healthier, and simple to make snack items, late in the week!! This may take some time, and depend on your budget,as to how quickly you do this weaning down. If you can, cull out,and donate all the boxes right away, the USPS is doing their food drive this weekend, so donate it easily at your front door Saturday!! If your budget cannot handle that, do not replace those boxes with more items, just use them as you normaly would, and replace with healthier options, listed below.
Ok, now we will work to replace those processed items with a few staples I think every kitchen should never be without:
dry and canned beans
rice, brown and long grain wild rice
canned tomatoes, many styles, sauce, chopped, paste, chili, italian etc
shelf stable milk(non dairy as well)
All of these items are ideally organic and as healthy as possible for your budget, this is entirely up to you for canned goods.
Also, we always keep on hand onions, winter squash, garlic, sweet potatoes and potatoes. These all store well and can be used for so many dishes quickly and easily.
Now, like I said, i think that a mini pantry overhaul is good to do, I do one routinely as the seasons change, mostly because I am a bit of a food hoarder, and need to keep food shifting around, to make sure I am not stocking up on too much of any one thing:-) But it also helps to see what you have, so that you can plan a menu, which saves time, stress,and money/calories. If you don’t plan your meals you will tend to eat quick meals, calorie dense and nutrition empty, they cost more,and you will feel stressed about the cost/calories/plan, all not worthwhile in the long run!!
This is my menu, and it has 2 weeks of dinners planned, plus any extra things I want to get done, like baking for the week. I have it marked if the item is a crockpot meal as well, since we have many nights of not being home until 6:30, or being out and needing a on-the-go dinner option too. This is a life saver, and while I may not stick to it rigidly, it gives me an idea of what I can make, and what I have on hand, so the days and dinners are interchangeable. The basic premise of this is that I stay out of the store(costs less that way!!) and we have good nutritious meals with lots of variety, always handy to make.
Many of these dinners listed on the menu use some of my pantry staples. Here are some other menu items you can add into your meal rotation that will utilize pantry staples, and reduce your food bill, while maintain a good variety and healthy, clean, nutrition.
Salsa Chicken and rice(crockpot meal) with cuban black beans
Italian Chicken soup(can serve over brown rice)
Tacos(left over chicken from salsa chicken and blackbeans/rice)
Chili with sweet potatoes and squash (you could totally put a scoop or two of It Works Greens into this and none would know but you!!)
Egyptian Kushari(a vegetarian pasta and bean dish, yummy and nutritious, this one has sprouted wheat in it too!)
These recipes, and this mini pantry overhaul will help you to stick to your clean eating habits a bit better, and help you to continue to make nutritious and interesting meals, within a budget!!