Open up the fridge or pantry in households around the country and chances are some of the indulgences may tip the scale toward seriously unhealthy. To start the New Year, consider a refrigerator and pantry makeover. Get rid of prepackaged, processed foods and replace them with natural foods. By spending a little extra time each week preparing, healthy eating becomes convenient and simple and the temptation to pull through the drive-thru is less likely.
Integrative Nutrition Health and Kitchen Coach, Liza Baker, reminds us to get in the right frame of mind first. “Food makeovers begin in the brain, not the fridge, freezer, or pantry,” notes Baker. “The biggest change we can make in our food choices begins with understanding that substitutions are not necessarily the way to better health; rather, retraining the palate to enjoy healthful whole foods will bring about major changes.” Baker says, “Soda is a prime example of this. By substituting diet for regular soda, your body doesn’t overcome the craving for something sweet.”
Following is a list of foods to consider replacing in your fridge or pantry along with some nutritionist-approved snacks to fill your fridge and pantry with for the New Year.
Out with the Old ...
Deli Meat or Pepperoni
Processed Cheese Singles
Chips and Cheese Dip
Rice and Pasta
In With the New ...
Tuna fish, oven-baked turkey breast
Thin sliced natural cheese, reduced-fat Natural Swiss cheese
Olive or Canola Oil for cooking, avocado for spreading
Nonfat plain Greek yogurt
Veggies for dipping, hummus and salsa
Quinoa, amaranth, farro
Spinach, kale, dark leafy greens
Raw energy bars
Water with lemon
Organic, Cage -Free, Hard Boiled Eggs – Boil a dozen eggs and keep them in your refrigerator for a quick, high protein snack.
Kale Chips - Packed full of cancer fighting nutrients and vitamins, Kale is a superfood to get to know if you haven’t already. It’s versatility in the kitchen makes it a front runner in many different recipes from salad and stir fry to smoothies and even chips. Keep Kale on-hand for when the chip craving kicks in. Spread kale leaves evenly on a lightly greased baking sheet. Using an oil mister, spray with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for a few minutes in the oven. Bet you can’t have just one!
Raw Vegetables – For those who choose the low-carb lifestyle, veggies are delicious food for snacking, pair nicely with dips and cheeses and can act as the cracker base for so many snack variations. Get creative!
Fresh Fruit - Fresh fruits reign over dried fruit because dried fruits have very high concentrated levels of sugar. Try to avoid them and replace them with low-sugar fruits such as berries, grapefruit, apples, watermelon, cherries, pears, kiwi, peaches, cantaloupe and oranges.
Nuts – Whole Foods recommends incorporating nuts and seeds into your diet in moderation. They pack a powerful punch of flavor and are a good source of unsaturated fats. Nut and Seed Butters are a great alternative to extracted oils.
Edamame – Packed full of protein, rich in antioxidants and minerals and high in fiber, edamame is the superfood that should be in your kitchen in 2016!