Summer is a good time to overhaul your home food environment. Clearing out unhealthy foods is a great first step toward making better eating decisions at home.
But once you’ve cleared your pantry of the not-so-healthy processed foods and the foods that have been lurking for months past their expiration dates, don’t make the mistake of filling your pantry back up with junk.
Once you clean out our pantry and fridge, there may be a pretty large void staring back at you. So what should you fill it with? Of course, the obvious answers are: fruits, vegies, whole grains, lean meats, etc.
But let’s consider another topic near and dear to many of our hearts: snacks. Small, frequent meals require that we have access to nutritious food throughout the day, and sometimes we do not want to saute or stir-fry at 3 in the afternoon.
When choosing snacks for your pantry, consider:
- Ready-to-go snacks that make healthier decisions easier, such as pre-cut fruits, vegies, low-fat string cheese and yogurt.
- What snacks can you have around that will satisfy you without tempting you to overindulge? Dark chocolate is one option. Other options may be dates, nuts or whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk.
- Prevent your eyes from getting bigger than your stomach.
Get rid of lollies or snack bowls sitting around the house: out of sight, out of mind.
- Consider downgrading the size of your dishes. Cornell researcher Brian Wansink ran a series of studies showing that we tend to eat less when we eat with smaller plates, bowls and utensils.
- Break out the Tupperware. When cooking, especially in large batches, put any extra food immediately into portion-size containers and stow it away in the fridge or freezer. You’ve reduced your likelihood to overeat at mealtime and have increased your access to healthy, easy-to-prepare (reheat) lunches and dinners later on.