One of the simplest ways to encourage more cooking and find joy in it is to have a well organized kitchen pantry. When your pantry is cluttered, overly packed, stocked with expired items, spilled sauces, filled with highly processed foods or simply unorganized that you don’t know where things are, it can be a headache thinking about cooking. In addition, if your pantry doesn’t align with your healthy eating goals, it’s time for a makeover! It’s amazing how a well-organized and well-stocked pantry can help make mealtime easy and nutritious. Keep reading to learn simple strategies to help you stock a healthy pantry.
1) “Out of sight, out of mind”: If your goal is to eat healthier, you might want to swap out less-healthy foods such as snack foods or highly processed items that are high in salt, sugar and fat for healthier options. If you find that majority of your pantry consists of less-healthy foods, consider getting rid of most it (or all). By most of it, I encourage at least 85% of it. You may decide to choose only a few fun treat foods to keep around. In organizing these items, try the method of placing the healthy options at eye level and at easy-to-reach places, while intentionally placing the less-healthy treat foods at harder-to-reach places that will require a bit of effort to get to them. Strategic placement will help control impulsive urges to snack during times when you’re bored or stressed.
2) Utilize organization containers and label them: As you go through your kitchen pantry, you may find surprises such as expired items and mystery items (items with change in color, texture or maybe you have no clue what it is). Can you relate? It is extremely helpful to have organization containers such as clear food storage containers with lids, baskets and jars to place pantry foods in. The original containers that foods come in may be dirty, bulky and taking up too much space in your pantry, so toss those out and you’ll find that you can utilize your kitchen space more efficiently. Organization definitely helps with functionality. Don’t forget to label the containers with their name, their brand (optional) and their expiration date.
3) Organizing the spices and herbs: Incorporating a variety of spice and herb options will help add flavor, make cooking fun and healthy. Many spices come with exceptional health benefits! (Link below to learn more about spices). We are finding that too much sodium (salt) in the diet can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, edema, bloating and even calcium loss. So, move aside the salt and stock your pantry with spices and herbs. In organizing them, try placing your spices near the stove so they’re easily on hand as you cook. If you’re low on pantry space, consider placing them in a nearby drawer instead. In addition, make it easy to locate the spice by arranging them alphabetically or organize them by what you like to cook and group spices accordingly. You may also consider a spice rack to place on the counter!
4) Storing Tupperware: With a well-stocked and organized pantry, hopefully you will find yourself cooking more. To simplify the process of packing leftovers or meal prepping, make sure you have a set of quality Tupperware. If feasible, I encourage getting a uniform set of Tupperware with a variety of sizes. It makes storage of them easier by placing them into each other and separating the lids. Find a clean place in the cabinet or drawer to store all of these in one location.
For more ideas on healthy pantry makeovers, check out these links:
Healthy Food Pantry Makeover by Whole Foods Market
Healthy Pantry Makeover Tips + Free Printable Pantry & Meal Planning Checklist by Green Child Magazine
Pantry Makeover: What to Stock, What to Skip by Food Network
24 Delicious Herbs & Spices With Health Benefits by Organic Facts
I hope you found these tips and links useful and inspiring! A kitchen pantry makeover can bring so much happiness and I encourage you take on this challenge in your own home.