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Spring Cleaning!

Let's preface this post by saying you do not need to "spring clean" your diet in any way! The verbiage of "spring clean" used in this post is simply a nod to the season we are in, but does not have anything to do with "clean eating" or ditching certain foods from your intake (barring anything you don't like to eat or are allergic to). However, if you feel as though your kitchen may be in need of a cleaning to help you nourish yourself better, this may be a great time to consider executing some of these tasks. So, what could this look like?

Some ideas to help "spring clean" your kitchen to help support taking care of yourself:

  1. Empty out the refrigerator and discard any expired foods/beverages or things that you purchased but did not like/will not use. Do the same thing in the freezer and pantry as well (this does not need to be done all in one day FYI - this can be a lot of work including if you are cleaning such as wiping out the fridge too, so making it a multi-day project may feel like it helps conserve your resources for these tasks). This can help to eliminate the visual clutter when you look into these areas of the kitchen for a meal or snack idea and allow for more room for foods you actually like and want to eat.

  2. If this feels helpful, you may want to create a list of the items in your kitchen that you do like to keep handy. Keeping this list of "green light" items to always plan to have on hand can be helpful when you're creating grocery lists, feeling stuck on what to buy, etc. Depending on the space you have in the kitchen and the affordability of doing so for you and your household, I'd invite you to consider keeping multiples of these things on hand for when you may be in a pinch. For example, keep a few different kinds of carbohydrates on hand such as frozen potatoes in the freezer, pasta in the pantry and tortillas in the fridge; keep a few different canned items such as beans and soups available for adding to meals; or maybe a few different breakfast options in the freezer such as breakfast burritos, waffles or pre-portioned smoothie packages!

  3. Condiments and spices - these can be wonderful enhancements to meals and snacks and add not only excitement but in certain ways, additional nutrition. For example, adding something like jarred non-perishable pesto will help to add a tasty fat-containing food to a meal or snack; adding red pepper flakes may help to spice up a frozen meal that is the easiest way to get your needs met on a busy week night, but otherwise pretty bland. Keep these stocked in your kitchen but following similarly to #1, toss anything that is expired or that you don't like.

  4. As we are speaking about tossing expired items, it can also be helpful to educate yourself on the differences of what all those differing dates on food packages mean. According to the USDA, "there are no uniform or universally accepted descriptions used on food labels for open dating in the United States. As a result, there are a wide variety of phrases used on labels to describe quality dates". These commonly used phrases are as follows:

    • A "Best if Used By/Before" date indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.

    • A "Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. It is not a safety date.

    • A “Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. It is not a safety date except for when used on infant formula as described below.

    • A “Freeze-By” date indicates when a product should be frozen to maintain peak quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.


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