Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kitchen Makeover


You have made the decision to start cleaning up your eating! The first place you need to start is your kitchen. Take time this week to get everything ready to help you on your journey to the new you! Here's what you need to do!

Start with the right tools!

You are going to find that there are certain kitchen tools that you are going to use every day. Keep these together in one drawer or cupboard for quick and easy access:
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cups
  • paring knife(s)
  • food scale - that's the exact scale I own ------>
  • snack and sandwich sized Ziploc baggies
  • small plastic or glass storage containers

There is a saying in the weight loss world: Open bags lead to saddlebags! Man is that the truth! I'm not sure about you, but I can't ever just eat one serving of anything if I'm eating it straight from the container. Not even carrots! So, when you come home from the store, IMMEDIATELY separate your food into individual portions. Do it with almonds (14 almonds), pretzel sticks (10 or so sticks), tortilla chips (24 chips), whatever your poison is! Then put the baggies at eye level in your pantry so you can grab them quickly!

When I started on my journey, the very first thing I did was DITCH THE JUNK. I came home and opened my fridge and cupboards and PITCHED everything that a well tuned athlete would not eat. The white bread, the box of Lucky Charms, the fruit snacks, the candy, the soda, etc. It was all gone! My husband about had a heart attack but he's used to it now!


Did you know that food marketers pay MILLIONS of dollars each year to insure that their products are right at your chest level in the grocery store? Why chest level? Because that's where children who sit in the cart look. Check out the cereal isle next time you are at the store. I would put money on it that all the sugary stuff is right at your chest level. 

Well GUESS WHAT? Two can play at that game!

Take a few minutes and do the same thing in your house that food marketers pay millions to do in the grocery stores. Place your quick, healthy, pre-portioned foods right at your eye level in the pantry and fridge. This way, they are the first things you see and you are more likely to grab them! Set your greek yogurt right near your berries, that way you can grab both at the same time!

Another great snack to have at eye level are hard boiled eggs! The whites are packed with protein and are super quick! Prep them on Sunday, set them in your fridge, and then just toss the yolk and enjoy!

A staple in my diet right now (due to gallbladder issues - that's a whole other blog post...) is canned tuna. I prefer the cans because I can recycle them (I'm a tree hugger) and they are cheaper (let's just say that I'm frugal). I store them in the fridge because I can't stand warm tuna - can you??? Grab a can of tuna, a few spoon fulls of 0% plain greek yogurt, and some relish and you have tuna salad on the go! I love it on some Ezekiel bread with some 2% cheese sprinkled on top - YUM!

Substitute this for that!

Another great trick is to go through your food and substitute what you can. Instead of having regular ketchup in your fridge (hello high fructose corn syrup!), trade it out for the organic ketchup. How about a no sugar added version of your jelly or jam? Instead of buying bricks of cheese, buy 2% (lower fat) string cheese. Swap out that sour cream for 0% greek yogurt. 

I stumbled on an app a few months ago that is great for comparing brands and versions of food. It's called Fooducate and it allows you to scan the bar codes of two products to do a side by side comparison. It will even tell you if the food is GMO free - SWEET!

What about your pantry?

Most of your healthiest foods are going to be found in your fridge. I'd say that 80% of the food I eat comes directly out of my fridge. Once you have all that figured out, it's time to move onto your pantry! You usually head to the pantry for something crunchy, carb loaded, fast and/or sweet. Now it's time to find healthier versions of those staples!

Keep the healthiest pantry foods AT YOUR EYE LEVEL! Remember those food marketers who pay millions to get the prime spots at the store? Well, be your own food marketer! Put the bad stuff in hard to reach places! When you want something quick, are you going to take the time to get the stool out to reach the back corner of the pantry, or are you going to grab what is right at eye level?

When you buy your food in bulk (gotta love Costco and Sam's!), take everything out of the packaging right away. Repackaging is KEY to changing your diet! 

Here's some staples I like to keep handy in my pantry:
  • Unsalted Brown Rice Cakes
  • Unsalted raw almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, etc.
  • Old fashioned rolled oats
  • Steel cut oats
  • Protein powder
  • Shakeology
  • Low sodium/no salt added Canned Black Beans
  • Low sodium/no salt added Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • Instant brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Dried fruit - but be careful and make sure your version has NO SUGAR ADDED!
  • Quest protein bars
  • All Natural Peanut Butter
  • Almond Butter
  • Annie's Organic Mac and Cheese (for the occasional splurge)
  • Oat flour
  • Dark chocolate (70% or higher if possible) for cooking
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Low sodium, organic chicken broth

If you looked in my cupboards right now, you would also find some Funfetti cake mix - but you would have to look REALLY hard to find it ;)

Put everything in your kitchen where people know to look for it. My pantry is BORING. There's nothing "good" (hubs words, not mine!) in there because I refuse to buy it! That is very intentional. If it's not in the house, we can't eat it! I want my family to know that all the good food is in the fridge and that's where they should look for snacks and meals!

So, where do I start???

  1. Get your gadgets set up and readily accessible.
  2. Remove all of your high fat, sugary temptations from your kitchen.
  3. Swap out foods in the fridge for lower sugar/organic/lower fat versions.
  4. Stock up on baggies and containers so you can pre-portion your grocery store finds!
  5. Clean out your fridge!
  6. Put your pre-portioned food in the million dollar spot - EYE LEVEL!

What are you waiting for? GO CLEAN OUT YOUR KITCHEN!


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