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- __Easy first step – throw out moldy or outdated foods.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.
|Day 1||Whole-grain toast
and peanut butter
1 cup milk
|Green salad made with: garbanzo beans
bell pepper, cucumber
feta cheese, nuts vinaigrette dressing
(Roast chicken optional)
1 cup fresh fruit
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
|South of the Border Beans and Rice (link)
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
|Zucchini & Onion Frittata (link)
For more meal planning ideas see our Five for Six: Affordable Cancer-Fighting Dinners.
Published on March 5, 2014