Tips to giving your kitchen a healthy makeover

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How to spring clean your fridge

Spring is a time of cleansing, and not just in relation to our homes. You may have enjoyed warming, comfort foods like puddings and buttery potatoes during winter, but with summer just around the corner, it’s time to change your eating routine and lighten up your pantry and fridge. If you’re striving towards your best bikini body yet, follow these seven steps to spring-clean your kitchen and your food choices. 

1. Remove or share any unwanted items 

Unwanted refers to all the sugar-laden snack foods - some that even claim to be ‘healthy’ - you know you shouldn’t eat, but will if they stay in your pantry much longer. This is especially important if, like many of us, you find ‘eliminating’ easier than ‘moderation’. If you hate the idea of waste, re-gift any unopened boxes of chocolate and bring your lollies, biscuits and chip packets to work. Your colleagues and your waistline, will thank you for it! And remember, try not to buy them again.

2. Swap high GI for low GI

Not only do low GI foods keep you fuller for longer, they are generally more nutritious, and are linked with weight loss when compared to high GI alternatives. Search through all the starchy foods in your pantry, and remove the high GI options, such as white bread, rice crackers, jasmine rice, white potatoes and sugary cereals. Replace these items with low GI alternatives, such as seeded breads and crackers, basmati rice, sweet potato, oats and bran-based cereals. 

3. Toss any packaged items that can be replaced with whole foods

For example, ‘mixed’ stir-fry sauces can be replaced by combining simple ingredients like soy, lemon juice, garlic, honey and chilli. Breakfast cereals can be replaced by your own combination of oats, bran, dried fruits, nuts and seeds. Fresh fruits, nuts, yoghurt and homemade bliss balls can replace packet snacks and muesli bars. Any packaged items with numbers, syrups, salts and fats – chuck! By swapping packets with wholefoods, you will most likely save some money, win-win!

4. Keep 5 to 8 varieties of fresh, seasonal vegetables in your fridge at all times

You will benefit from a wider range of nutrients, and never run out of healthy options! However, don’t buy any more than you can consume over a fortnight, unless you are prepared to freeze.  Use leafy greens and salad vegetables first, as these have a shelf life of only 5-7 days. Hardier vegetables such as broccoli, sprouts and eggplant can last for up to 14 days. Remember to buy seasonal if you can – it will save you money and reduce your carbon footprint.

5. Stock your freezer

It is always useful to have a ‘contingency plan’ for weeks when you can’t make it to the shops. Make sure you have a few frozen vegetable options and some fresh proteins that you have dated and frozen. Frozen berries are excellent to keep during winter, when fresh varieties become expensive. Remember, frozen produce can be just as nutritious as fresh! It is also recommended to buy your meat and fish fresh from the market in bulk, and storing in your freezer until the morning you wish to cook it. It will really take the pressure off, and ensure your proteins are always top-quality! 

6. Bring in something new

Curious about quinoa? Considering oats instead of cornflakes? Want to try a new fruit, such as a mandarin, or a new vegetable, such as eggplant? While you’re cleaning out the old fridge and pantry items, get creative and bring in something new. Make a list of all the new healthy, seasonal foods you would like to eat, and search for tips and recipes on how to use them.  Then, go and buy them! 

7. Invest in some tupperware

If your fridge crisper draw is overflowing with vegetables, buy yourself an additional crisper container. A crisper prevents moisture from escaping, which means that vegetables maintain their water content, freshness and nutrient density for longer. Other useful handiware include containers to organise pantry items, measuring cups for portion control with grains and cereals, and spray-guns to use for oils when dressing salads, roast veggies, or greasing pans. 
Samantha Cowan Posted by: Samantha Cowan

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