Now that the holidays are over, I have been focusing on getting some things done inside my home. (Even yesterday when the weather was nice enough for the beach!) Once a year, whether they need it or not (LOL), I clean out closets and drawers. This is actually one of my least favorite household chores, but it did give me this idea for today’s blog post:
Improve your eating habits (and your kids), by starting in your pantry.
When you cook at home, you use the ingredients stored in your pantry. When your kids are looking for something to eat, they raid the pantry. Yes, you see where I am going! This year, as you declutter and reorganize, consider swapping out some of the canned goods and nonperishables you’ve been habitually stocking in your pantry for some healthier alternatives. In today’s post I am going to suggest 7 changes to make in your pantry that will translate into healthier meals and snacks for you and your family.
1. Stock low sodium chicken, beef and/or vegetable broth instead of regular broth. Unless you have the time to make your own stock, you likely use broth when you make soups, stews and sauces. Broth is also a simple way to boost flavor when cooking sides, such as rice and vegetables. But did you know that a can of regular broth (10.75 oz) will provide 80% of the sodium you should be consuming in an entire day? Stop purchasing these salt shockers and stock low-sodium or reduced sodium broths. Be sure to compare brands and choose the one with lower amounts of sodium. A label that lists 5% or less Daily Value (DV) for sodium is a good choice. A label with a 20% Daily Value (DV) is high in sodium.
2. Stock popcorn instead of potato chips. A one ounce serving of potato chips (if you can stop there) contains 130 empty calories and 8.6g fat. Would you like to spare yourself about 75% of the fat and calories in these chips plus add a whole grain to your diet? Then ditch the chips and start stocking popcorn. I like to make my own, and it takes only a few minutes. Here’s how I make it:
Place 1/2 c popcorn in a brown lunch bag, fold top over twice and place in microwave oven. Cook at full power for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes or until you hear a pause of 2 seconds between pops. Carefully remove popcorn and place in large bowl. Use a mister to mist with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
3. Stock brown rice instead of white rice. With dietary recommendations set at 3 servings of whole grain daily, one half cup of cooked brown rice will put you one serving closer to meeting these recommendations. Remember some of the many health benefits of whole grains include: reduced risk of stroke, diabetes , cardiovascular disease and an aid in weight reduction/maintenance.
4. Stock freshly ground peanut butter instead of processed peanut butter. Processed peanut butters have unnecessary ingredients including hydrogenated oils, emulsifiers and sugar. The ingredients in freshly ground peanut butter are,…. well peanuts (and maybe some salt) depending on where you shop.
5. Stock white whole wheat instead of white bread. If you are buying white bread because your kids don’t like the taste of whole wheat bread you have a healthier option: white whole wheat. What’s the difference between white wheat and red wheat? The color of the seed coat. You can now have the taste of white bread with the nutrition of whole wheat. Yes, it’s a win win!
6. Stock dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Dark chocolate has half the sugar of milk chocolate. It is also is a source of flavanol antioxidants responsible for cardiovascular health benefits. Look for dark chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa, the ingredient that’s the source of antioxidants. Remember to eat in moderation and only as part of a well balanced diet.
7. Stock bottled water, seltzer water and 100% juice instead of sugar sweetened beverages. There are no nutritional benefits to sugar sweetened beverages including: soda, juice drinks, iced tea, lemonade, and powdered drink mixes. As a matter of fact, this liquid candy is contributing to 16% of our children’s caloric intake and is associated with dental caries, diabetes, weight gain, and decreased bone density. It’s time we change the number one source of calories in our children’s diet to something with health benefits!
Does getting organized help you eat better? What works for you!