Hope you all had a fantastic Monday! I know I sure did! Last night we talked a little bit about how to plan meals. One of the most important aspects of planning is having a properly stocked pantry. I can honestly tell you that one of the biggest challenges I faced in eating healthy was the fact that I had nothing to cook. I would find a recipe that looked good (and healthy) but I wouldn’t have half the stuff to make it. So, I’d go for takeout instead, thinking that I would get the stuff when I went to the store. Of course, I would forget about it by then; hence the cycle of not eating well continued.
I’m actually going to split this up into a series, because properly stocking a healthy pantry is not a simple chore. It’s good to do a little at a time, over the course of a few weeks. It’s more budget-friendly that way, too. You can also get some of your not-so-healthy stuff used up, too. Please don’t waste it; if you find something in your cupboard that you really don’t want to eat anymore, donate it to a food bank or something so it doesn’t go to waste. I donated a lot of food when I transitioned, and even though I thought twice about it – after all, if I won’t eat it, why would I want someone else to eat it? But I really can’t stand throwing food away.
Let’s start with the basics. I’m not going to delve into all the different dietary theories here, and exactly what you need for each type. I am going to give you the basics for being able to prepare fresh, healthy food, with a few ingredients. First of all, you are going to get rid of some types of food. You will replace the unhealthy options with healthy options. Your goal should be to end up with a pantry that will allow you to cook a variety of meals very day, so you don’t have to run to McDonald’s or fix stuff out of a box.
When I started this project in my own family, I found it very helpful to clean out the cupboards and the refrigerator. This signified a new beginning, so it was as much an emotional “fresh start” as it was a nutritional one, and equally important, I might add.
I started by doing some shopping at the grocery store for staple items that I would need frequently. I also found that some items were less expensive buying online from Vitacost.com and Amazon. With a little planning, this becomes much easier. I found local sources for raw milk and dairy (cheese, cream, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, etc). I also found a couple different sources for grass-fed beef and other healthy farm products. I purchased a CSA from a local farm so I could have fresh, organic produce all summer long. And I’ve been stocking my shelves with healthy versions of staple foods. I will go into detail about that tomorrow. I suggest starting with the dairy and meat, because they tend to be the most inflammatory items from the grocery store. I truly believe doing this gives you the biggest bang for your buck and will make the biggest difference in your health. Remember, our goal is to eliminate processed foods. It helps to do a little research first to find these products in your area.
So tonight we have barely scratched the surface of building the healthy pantry…stay tuned for more, but this is a good way to start on the road to better health. Sit down and make some lists of what your goals are. What do you want in your health, and how can you best achieve those goals. Remember, that’s what I’m here for…so start making your list, and look for some more detailed information tomorrow about what types of products you want on your shelves. Have a great night!