A little spring cleaning in your kitchen now, will help give your health a positive jump start before summer. Removing unhealthy items from your home is a necessary step towards better health. But don’t stop there. Having the right food on hand will increase your success in meeting your health goals. You can use the grocery lists below to purchase healthy staples for your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Then finish your kitchen makeover by adding in the basic kitchen supplies making healthy food preparation easy and efficient.
KITCHEN MAKEOVER: Step One – What to Remove
1. Remove Non-nutritious Food
First, get a large trash bag and throw any non-nutritious items or food that trigger you to engage in unhealthy eating. Keep only the food that will help you meet your health goals.
There are 2 ingredients that are especially harmful to your long term health:
- Partially hydrogenated oils or trans fats
- High fructose corn syrup (HDCS)
Both of these substances are in many processed foods. Read the labels on items in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer and throw away any food with these ingredients. As you read ingredient labels keep foods that have fewer ingredients and ones you can pronounce. Look for a healthier substitute for your favorite snacks: one with ingredients that better support your health.
Be aware of foods that may seem healthy, but aren’t according to Precision Nutrition. These “Trick Health Foods” include:
- Sweetened yogurt and frozen yogurt
- Breads and bagels
- Other baked goods
- Breakfast cereals
- Granola bars
- Regular peanut butter
- Fruit juice
As you’re cleaning up your pantry, if the food has some value, you might consider donating it to a food bank instead of throwing it away.
2. Remove Eggs, Dairy or Wheat
Most people who consider eliminating these foods are experiencing some health issues. Weight gain, physical pain, or a health crisis are what often motivate dietary changes. In “Cleanse to Heal” by Anthony William, “level 1 troublemakers are the most important to remove from your diet if you want to protect your health.”
Level 1 troublemakers are:
- Soft drinks
- Excess salt
If you aren’t ready to remove these items completely from your home, consider removing them from your kitchen to a freezer or garage for a season. This is something I have done many times over the years, and it has been a helpful first step toward healthier eating.
KITCHEN MAKEOVER: Step 2 – What to Add
On your next grocery trip, add in some of the healthy foods from the lists below. These are the foods that are staples in my home.
Fruits – fresh or frozen
- Apples (Fuji and Honeycrisp are my favorite varieties)
- Wild blueberries, frozen
- Mangos, fresh or frozen
Vegetables & Fresh Herbs – fresh or frozen
- Asparagus, fresh or frozen
- Broccoli, fresh or frozen
- Sweet potatoes
- Raw cashews
- Sesame seeds
- Other nuts/seeds of your choice
Lean protein, if eating meat
- Grass-fed beef, fresh or frozen
- Salmon, fresh, frozen, canned or dried
- Sardines packed in water
- Turkey, fresh or frozen
Cans or jars
- Beans (black, garbanzo, cannelloni, etc.)
- Coconut milk
- Tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste preferably with no citric acid
- Coconut aminos, a substitute for soy sauce
- Coconut water
- Healthy oils like coconut, avocado or olive oil
- Orange juice, for smoothies
- Sesame seed oil
- Vegetable broth
- Non-alcoholic vanilla extract
Bulk items or bags
- Beans or lentils
- Whole grains, oatmeal, quinoa, millet, brown or black rice
- Arrowroot powder
- GF flour
- Tahini also known as sesame seed butter
- Almond butter
- Cashew butter
- Pure maple syrup
- Raw honey
- Coconut sugar
- Black pepper
- Chili powder
- Red chili flakes
- Sea salt
KITCHEN MAKEOVER: Bonus – Basic Kitchen Supplies
Having some basic kitchen supplies is the final step of your makeover. I didn’t make major purchases at first, but over time learned which larger appliances would be useful in my kitchen. I still use a sharp knife over a food processor much of the time.
Basic Kitchen Supplies adapted from Precision Nutrition:
- Sharp Knives
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Citrus juicer for juicing lemon/limes
- Cookware set, preferably ceramic (I would purchase 1 larger ceramic pan for stir-frying)
- Large bowls
- Wooden spoons
- Vegetable peeler (can use a paring knife instead)
- Glass baking dishes
- Food processor*
- High Speed Blender*
- Tea kettle*
You might also be interested in My Favorite Kitchen Tools: 11 Items I Use Everyday.
Kitchen makeover summary:
- Eliminate all the unhealthy food with hydrogenated oils and corn syrup from your home.
- Remove eggs, wheat, dairy or any food that doesn’t support your health goals.
- Restock your pantry, refrigerator and freezer with healthy foods.
- Make sure you own a sharp knife and the basic kitchen supplies.
Taking the time to make over my kitchen was a key step in my journey to consistently eat healthier. I’m excited for the ways a kitchen makeover can support your health and wellness goals, too!
For additional tips on staying healthy you might also enjoy 3 Ways to Improve Your Health This Spring