Updating your pantry: 3 tips for a healthier kitchen

Pantry by Affordable Custom Closets

Many folks, either when finally deciding to get healthy, or “gettin’ back on the horse” have to do some major overhauls of the food they eat, and, therefore, the food they stock.

In my business, I plan very different menus and recipes each week, and am often picking up foods or ingredients that I haven’t worked with before.

I’ve learned (mostly the hard way) some tips to survive diet, menu, and pantry make-overs.

Here are my top three:

When changing up your pantry…

1. Don’t go buy a ton of food you’ve never eaten.

Try to stick to healthier versions of what you know (1% milk instead of 2%, lowfat yogurt instead of full-fat, etc), and add 2-3 “new foods” each trip.

This will keep you from finding your pantry overflowing (and your wallet empty) in a few months with a bunch of stuff you don’t like, and won’t eat.

2. Buy new foods in small portions. Based on tip #1 – if you like the ingredient, you can always go back and buy more, but a 25lb bag of brown rice takes up a LOT of space…especially if you won’t eat it. The “bulk foods” section of your store, or your local farmer’s market, can be a great place to get small portions!

3. Buy what you like to eat (referring to “real food”), and practice portion control instead of deprivation.

A little butter is NOT bad for you…pouring half a cup of it on your “steamed” veggies is. A baked potato is NOT bad for you…a bag of frozen French fries in one serving, is.

Portion control is key, you have trained your body and your mind to respond to certain “drugs”…you can’t just expect to cut them off cold turkey (pardon the pun). In the long term, deprivation will lead to failure every time.

Don’t be afraid to try new things, in fact, embrace new, healthy foods and ingredients. For many of us, variety and adventure are just as important as discipline (maybe more so) when it comes to sticking with a healthy lifestyle.

Hope that helps!

– Chef Perry

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