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Last Updated on February 20, 2021 by Diane Hoffmaster
I have spent the last month gorging myself on too much eggnog and far too many cookies. Last week I started stocking and organizing the pantry for healthier eating. I don't know about you but I know MY willpower kind of stinks. If I don't have a plan for dinner, I am much more likely to pick up the phone and call for a pizza. And not the low fat, healthy kind of pizza either. While I had a few free hours last weekend, I decided to get organized. If junk isn't in my house, I can't eat it, right?
Tips for Stocking and Organizing the Pantry
If you are stocking and organizing the pantry to start eating healthy, you need to know what exactly should go in there, right? How do you even get started organizing the pantry when some of that stuff has been in there since your college aged children were babies? Try AmazonFresh Free Trial and start stocking your home with healthier foods, even when you are too busy to shop. If you are completely confused about eating healthy, check out the PlateJoy meal planning service. They make healthy recipes simpler to shop for and much more frugal!
Take everything out first.
And I do mean Every. Single. Item. You want to see bare shelves before you start stocking and organizing the pantry.
Clean your shelves.
Get the spilled honey scrubbed off the shelves, vacuum the hair balls off the floor, and brush out any bits of Cheerios left behind from clumsy children. You can put down pantry shelf liners if you are ambitious.
Ask yourself if you really need to be eating each item.
If you don't think it belongs on your healthy eating plan for the new year, throw it out. Willpower is a difficult thing to master and if candy and sugary cereals are THERE, you are much more likely to eat them. Think your kids will protest losing their marshmallow cereal? Too bad. Honestly, the whole family should probably be eating healthier so get them all on board!
Allow for a few treats.
Everyone has to have a special treat now and then. No healthy eating plan will be successful if you forbid every single 'bad for you' food. Just make sure the family knows that once it is gone, they are done with 'treats' til the next grocery shopping day.
Be realistic about your expectations.
Sure, fresh food from scratch every night is nice but we have these things called jobs and kids and science fair projects. Some days, we need canned food, boxed stock, and read to eat foods. Just make sure they are the right ones. Choose packaged foods that are natural, organic, and free from artificial ingredients. Making sure you have a few healthier yet ready to eat foods will help keep you from picking up the phone and ordering takeout out of desperation.
Put the good stuff front and center.
Don't keep the treats right dead center in your pantry. Out of site, out of mind. Get the whole grains, dried fruits, nuts, and other healthy foods at eye level and hide the tortilla chips and salsa on the top shelf. Don't tempt yourself every time you open the pantry.
Stock up on the basics.
You want to have as many single ingredient foods as possible in your panty. Several types of rice, beans, quinoa, and other staples will make it easier to cook from scratch. Make a list of all the items you want to stock in your pantry and start looking for sales and coupons. You can easily store spices, grains, and beans in recycled glass jars. You can also go to the thrift store and find large canning jars or miss matched canister sets. There is no reason to spend a fortune on organizing the pantry.
Check expiration dates on every item before it goes back in.
Get out your glasses, you will probably need them. Throw out anything that is past it's use by date. If you can't remember when you bought it, you probably don't need to put it back in your pantry.
Skip the premade items
Instead, stock up on oils, vinegars, spices, and other ingredients that allow you to make your own. Premade condiments are usually loaded with salt, fat, and artificial ingredients. Healthy oils to stock while organizing your pantry include olive, grapeseed, coconut, or nut and seed based oils. Ditch the corn oil and soy based oils. I am not a fan of canola oil either, although if you go organic you are better off. Invest in several flavored vinegars and a wide assortment of seasonings. You will never need a premade sauce again. From homemade Italian seasoning to homemade breadcrumbs, it isn't hard to do it yourself.
Make sure you invest in a few good cookbooks.
It does no good to stock and organize the pantry if you have no idea how to actually prepare all the healthy food you are stocking up on. Get a few basic cookbooks that will teach you the art of clean eating, cooking from scratch, and even crockpot cooking. Make it a habit to look at them on the weekend and write down what to buy at the grocery store for the next week's meals. Try AmazonFresh Free Trial and make your life even easier. You can shop for fresh foods right from your living room.
On your journey to healthier eating, stocking and organizing the pantry can be a huge hurdle in your road to success. Don't set yourself up for failure by leaving all the junk food still sitting in your pantry. If you are getting yourself organized in the new year you might want to read my post about Home Organization Tips for the Lazy Mom or my Laundry Room Organization Ideas!
Have any other tips for stocking and organizing the pantry?
Check out my review of the DIY Pantry Cookbook
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.