It’s time for a makeover – for your pantry that is.
When your cupboards and fridge are packed with delicious convenient, healthy foods, eating the Long Life way is a snap. To get there, do this pantry makeover project. Here’s how to get started:
Supplies to have on hand
You should have a sturdy step stool so you can access high cupboards and hard-to-reach spots at the backs of shelves safely. You will need to have some trash bags and some Zipper-seal bags to contain messy items you’re keeping – or tossing. Cleaning supplies for the pantry shelves is also a must. Get a paper and pen ready because you will need to make notes about what you need to go out and buy.
The best day for a pantry makeover
The day before trash pickup, so discarded food won’t sit around to attract pests of go bad.
What to do before you begin
Clear off your kitchen table and counter tops so you have room to place things. Designate one area for foods you’ll keep and one for items you’ll discard
Clear out your Pantry.
As you remove foods from your pantry shelves, put these in the discard pile:
Out-of-date foods, as well as anything that’s dried out, spoiled, or rancid. Exposure to oxygen can make cooking oils and whole-grain products go bad even before the expiration date; give yours the sniff test and throw away any that smell stale or bad.
Processed foods containing trans fats and/or saturated fats.
Get rid of shortening made with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils as well as cookies, crackers, baking mixes, and store-bought cakes and other processed foods that list these oils or saturated fats as one of the top four ingredients.
High-sugar and/or refined-grain cereals, breads, baked goods, and pastas. You’ll replace them with whole-grain, low-sugar versions.
Empty calorie snack foods. Toss them in the trash bag, When you snack for long life you’ll be eating crunchy, juicy fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grain crackers instead of high-sodium, high-fat, low-fiber chips, pretzels and crackers.
High-sodium condiments and processed foods. Toss or give away items that pack more than 20 percent of the recommended daily amount of sodium per serving (roughly 300 milligrams).
“Best intentions” foods that you haven’t used for six months to a year. That canned octopus and those ingredients for Thai cooking seemed like good ideas at the time, but if you’re never going to serve exotic seafood snacks or concoct an elaborate meal with coconut milk, curry paste, and fish sauce, it’s time to find them a new home.
If you are anything like me, you always have good intentions of making a certain recipe that you saw in a cookbook or magazine and you even went as far as to buy the ingredients from the grocery store, or possibly you have just stocked out on something every time you went to the grocery store and now you have a bunch of the same kind of canned olives sitting on your pantry shelf. If you have too many things in your pantry you become overwhelmed. Just think about if you only had a few important ingredients that you bought every week and then actually made the dish, how more focused you could be and not overwhelmed by too many options and too much food. It may seem like a waste to get rid of everything in your pantry. You did spend a good amount of money on it. But just remember how good the trade-off will feel.
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