Extreme Makeover: Pantry Edition

Stock your kitchen with these foods for nutritious snack and meal options.

How can you expect to eat healthy and lose weight if your kitchen is filled with processed, high-calorie, high-sodium junk food? Weight loss starts in the grocery store aisles, and you’ve got to be intentional as you fill your cart with meal ingredients. After all, what you buy at the store is brought home to your kitchen and eaten by you and your family. When your pantry is void of junk, you won’t wind up mindlessly eating junk food. Stocking up on the right kind of foods is one of the first steps toward a healthy lifestyle.

Makeover your kitchen by eliminating the junk and bringing in the new, fresh ingredients. Here are some staple foods suggestions, provided by Saint Paul fitness centers, to keep on your pantry shelves and in your refrigerator.

Dry Goods

You’re standing in front of the pantry shelves wondering what to snack on. Before your makeover there were chips, cookies, and puddings tempting you. Now you’ll find snacks like nuts, dried fruits, whole grain cereals, whole-wheat crackers, low-fat popcorn, or fruit. You should also keep commonly used dinner ingredients on hand to fix simple, nutritious meals. Brown rice, quinoa, couscous, or whole-wheat noodles are good to have for side dishes and casseroles.

Canned Foods

Used as a side or the main dish, many canned goods make meals fast, easy, and healthy. Just be careful! Some canned goods will add flavor to your meals at the risk of packing pounds on your midsection. Stock your pantry with beans of all kinds for chili, casseroles, stews, and salads; vegetable, chicken, or beef broths for soups and vegetables; canned fish or chicken packed in water for sandwiches, salads, or casseroles; tomato sauce and diced tomatoes for soups, pastas, and main dish ingredients; and canned soups for quick meals or casseroles.

In the Refrigerator

Out with the sodas, whole-fat milk, hot dogs, and biscuits and in with the healthy, nutritious choices!

Since everything is better with cheese, keep reduced-fat cheese slices or shredded cheese in the fridge for snacks and meals. Eggs are a great source of protein for breakfast or any meal. Those watching their cholesterol levels should buy egg substitutes or only use egg whites. Many fruits and vegetables are kept freshest in cool temps. With that in mind, place apples, grapes, melons, lettuce, and broccoli in the fridge where you can see them for snacks or recipes.

The fitness professionals at Saint Paul Fit Body Boot Camp realize that sometimes your stomach might just crave milk. If that is the case, reduce your calories, saturated fats, and cholesterol by switching to one percent or skim milk. It’s usually okay to substitute low-fat milk for full-fat milk in recipes. Low-fat yogurt is another great food to keep stocked in your fridge for snacks, smoothies, or in recipes. And there is a myriad of salad dressing options. With a little care, you can stay on the healthy side and use a non-fat variety or one with an olive oil or vinegar base

Freezer Foods

Your old freezer may have been filled with ice cream, steak, and waffles. Now, it’s time to fill it with healthier selections.

Limit your red meat intake and eat more fish, chicken, and lean meat. Keep individual portions in the freezer to thaw when needed. Frozen fruits and vegetables are a great way to keep your produce fresh for longer and it’s healthier than canned. Just pull out a bag, let your fruit thaw and stick your veggies in the microwave.

All about Choices

Making healthy choices is much easier when all the options are healthy. Keep junk out of the house and you’ll be on the road to health and weight loss.

Kick ‘Em Out. Don’t know which foods in your kitchen need to go? A personal trainer in Saint Paul suggests looking for foods that contain any of these ingredients: hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats, refined sugars and flours, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, and added or artificial sweeteners and colors.

Written by

Real People With Real Results

We guarantee you'll love Fit Body Boot Camp or it's free in the first 30 days