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How to Spring Clean Your Kitchen (and Your Diet)

What’s the first thing you do when you are bored (or maybe just procrastinating) at home and you walk through the kitchen. Open the food cupboard? Pantry? Refrigerator? All of them at different times just to find a snack? Yes, admittedly I do the same thing. Unfortunately, I start harboring a love/hate relationship towards these objects. “Why do you do this to me, cupboard? You have all of the stupid delicious girls scout cookies hidden away on your shelves… You dumb fridge with your bright light and leftover Chinese food. I want to eat the orange chicken. No, I don’t. Yes, I do… the pantry has all the dreadfully tasty cereals… ugh I hate you kitchen!!” … Okay, maybe I am the only crazy one with an embarrassing thought process about the kitchen. Or maybe I’m not? Well, let’s just do ourselves a favor – spring clean the kitchen, and get rid of empty calories while we’re at it.

Let’s start with the refrigerator. The first place you should clean is the door – that’s where all of those creamy dressings and condiments live. First, take everything out (or at least one row full). Throw away anything that is expired. Can’t find an expiration date? Throw it away anyway. Wipe down all of the bottles/containers you plan on keeping and the shelf itself. Reorganize from top to bottom. I keep all of the “healthier” condiments closest to my reach so that I choose those vs. the creamy, calorie heavy condiments. What else do you keep in the door? Wine? Cheese? Butter? Eggs? Soda? Let’s just say you can enjoy a “door food/drink” once per day (or less if you are more diet conscious) if that is the case.

After you finish the door, move onto the top shelf. This is generally wear I keep my juices, milk, and leftovers. Juices pack a lot of sugar into your diet. Try getting rid of the juice in general and drinking water instead. I exchange fat heavy whole milk with a non-dairy version (almond, soy, or coconut milk). Then I throw away any unhealthy leftovers or anything expired/old/unrecognizable. Wipe down and repeat the process with the second (and/or third, and drawers). Keep your refrigerator stocked with healthy things that won’t go bad in a week – tangerines, apples, celery are all good items to have on hand for snacking. I always keep eggs for protein and other in season veggies for cooking.

Moving on to the freezer – this might possibly be where you find the worst foods in the house. Throw away any old/expired meats, and frozen meals. Frozen pizza, pasta meals, Chinese, garlic bread are usually all packed with sodium, sugar, fat, preservatives, etc… Try filling yours with these healthier alternatives.

After you accomplish cleaning the refrigerator/freezer move onto the pantry and food cupboard. Do the same routine – throw away anything expired/old/opened-and-stale. Wipe down the shelves (or do what I do and swipe over it with the vacuum extender). Reorganize what you have left with the healthier options at the closest reach. Consider donating any old soups (packed with sodium), unopened sugary cereals, one-dish meals, or anything that you know is bad for you to a soup kitchen or other donation site. Fill your cupboards with healthier options for cooking and snacking.

After you spring clean your kitchen (and your diet) you will feel better about your outlook on dieting and getting your body healthy.

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