There is no better time than the first day in the first week of a brand new year to make a fresh start on the road to healthy eating. And there's no better place to take the first step on that journey than your kitchen. January 1st is a perfect time to clean out your cabinets, purge your pantry and rid your refrigerator of any foods that might sabotage your diet in 2012.
Let me lead the way to your kitchen makeover!
The first thing you must consider is whether you alone can take control the contents of your kitchen? If not, you will need to include the other decision makers in your household before undertaking this project.
Next you must have a clear vision of what types of foods your new eating plan includes. Does it allow pasta sauce in a jar or just canned tomatoes to make your own sauce? Can you eat tortilla chips if they are made from organically grown corn, yet still snack chips? Will you be able to use any of your collection of bottled salad dressings, or must they all go?
Once you have those guidelines in place, you'll need a large trash bag for the food you'll dispose of and a sturdy box for the food you can donate. And you'll need a pad to begin writing your shopping list of the better-for-you replacement foods you'll need to buy when you're done.
Starting with the cabinets, cupboards and pantry, remove everything in a jar, bottle, can, box, bag, or pouch. Immediately discard anything opened that does not "belong" in your new food plan. Then put the unopened versions of any unwanted foods in the donation box.
Now make a list of the items you'll need to buy to fill in the gaps with the good stuff.
The final step is to wipe down the shelves before returning just those foods you want to see on your plate at future meals.
With that done you're ready to tackle the refrigerator and freezer. Start with containers stored on the shelves in the doors of the refrigerator. Remove everything from those shelves, sort it, discard what you don't want, clean the shelves and return the items you want to keep. Don't forget to add the foods to your shopping list you'll need to replace. Next empty the drawers and do the same thing. Then you can clear out the open shelves and lastly, hit the freezer.
This is just one step towards better eating habits, but it's a giant step. You can't continue your bad habit of eating a bowl of ice cream in front of the TV every night if there's no ice cream in the freezer. And you can't establish your good habit to eat more brown rice and whole grain pasta if they aren't in the cupboard.
And don't forget to take that box of unopened food to the local Food Bank!
Wishing you a satisfying journey on the road to good nutrition!