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A Spring Cleaning Checklist for Your Healthy Kitchen

Spring is almost here. Soon you’ll be able to take advantage of warmer weather, fresh spring vegetables and more outdoor time – and that can all add up to a healthier you. Brisk walking at least 30 minutes every day and eating plenty of the spring produce can reap big health benefits, including lower risk for cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

So, this week, get ready by giving your kitchen a healthy spring-cleaning. If you eat smarter now you’ll boost your energy, improve your health and feel better just in time for spring!

Spring Cleaning Checklist

Your spring-cleaning project opens with a get-tough attitude on unhealthy foods in your cupboards and your refrigerator.

    • __Easy first step – throw out moldy or outdated foods.
    • __Pull out sugar loaded foods (candy, pastries) and drinks (sodas, energy drinks).
    • __Gather the bags of chips and other processed high calorie, salty snacks.
    • __Now – choose a couple of your absolute (unhealthy) favorites to keep in the back of the cupboard or refrigerator for a once-a-week indulgence and get rid of the rest.

Do a little planning for a big pay-off.

    • __ Sketch out some simple, healthy meals for the week. It’s important to be realistic - know what you are comfortable making and what you and your family enjoy eating. Check out the 3-day menu plan below for inspiration.
    • __ Make a grocery list. Stick to it and you may save money too!

Fill Your Kitchen with Color

Refresh Your Refrigerator:

    • __Green vegetables like salad greens, baby spinach, asparagus, fresh peas, green bell peppers, cucumber, avocado and zucchini.
    • __Go beyond green with red and orange bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, yellow squash, mushrooms and carrots.
    • __Fruits, including strawberries, blueberries, oranges, apples, grapes, lemons.
    • __ Low or non-fat milk, or calcium fortified soy, almond or rice milk; feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, regular and Greek yogurt
    • __Eggs, prepared hummus, fresh fish, chicken and other meats.

Fill Your Freezer:

    • __Bags of plain fruit like blueberries, strawberries and mango.
    • __Boxes or bags of plain vegetables - corn, peas or green beans.
    • __Whole grains for convenience – cooked brown rice, whole grain tortillas, ready to bake whole-wheat bread or rolls

Update Your Cupboards:

    • __Soups and broth - choose canned or boxed reduced-sodium varieties.
    • __Canned no-salt added tomatoes – include diced, whole or sauce.
    • __Beans, canned with no salt added. Garbanzo, black and kidney are great staples.
    • __Cans of tuna, salmon or sardines to liven up your spring greens.
    • __Bags of brown rice and other whole grains, like barley or quinoa are perfect for spring one-pots.
    • __Whole grain cereals including rolled oats or ready-to-eat muesli.
    • __Whole-grain breads including whole-wheat pita.
    • __Vegetables and fruit needing cool, but not cold storage – onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, pears.

Meal Plan

Meal/DayBreakfastLunchDinner
Day 1 Whole-grain toast
and peanut butter
1 orange
1 cup milk
Green salad made with: garbanzo beans
bell pepper, cucumber
feta cheese, nuts vinaigrette dressing
(Roast chicken optional)
1 cup fresh fruit
Tomato Soup
Salmon and Vegetable Kabobs
Brown Rice Pilaf
Day 2 1 cup yogurt - top with:
1/4 cup nuts
1/2 cup fresh fruit
1/2 cup muesli
Tuna salad sandwich (whole wheat bread)
Carrots and cherry tomatoes with hummus
Banana
South of the Border Beans and Rice (link)
Green salad
Baked Apple with dollop of Greek yogurt
Day 3 Oatmeal – top with
1/2 c blueberries
2 Tbsp walnuts
1 cup milk
Whole wheat pita with hummus, avocado, lettuce and tomato
Fresh Pear
Zucchini & Onion Frittata (link)
Steamed Vegetables
Cornbread

For more meal planning ideas see our Five for Six: Affordable Cancer-Fighting Dinners.

Published on March 5, 2014

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