Making Room for Real Foods

By , Enjoy Life
How many times a day do you open your pantry or fridge hoping that something new, healthy and filling will appear? Does your kitchen seem messy, cluttered and full of unhealthy foods? Do you want to make over your pantry and fridge, but aren’t sure where to start? 

We are here to help! Make a pledge to rid your pantry and fridge of unhealthy items and to re-stock it with real foods using the following doable steps. 

Part with the Unhealthy Non-Perishables 

It’s easy to promise yourself that you'll eat better, but you’re setting yourself up for sabotage if you don’t physically remove the unhealthy foods from your house. Go through every single item on your kitchen shelves and get rid of or donate anything that is overly high in sugar, sodium, artificial colorings or preservatives, or with a long laundry list of ingredients that you can't pronounce. Many condiments fit this bill—consider how much you and your family enjoy them and whether or not you can find substitutions for these items. Only keep those foods that you truly think you can continue to eat in moderation. 

Restock the Shelves 

Now that your cupboard is almost bare, it’s time to restock those shelves with real food. Common healthy pantry staples include: 

• Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice and oatmeal

• Healthy oils such as olive, coconut and walnut 

• Canned and jarred goods such as olives, beans, tuna, tomatoes, low-sodium broth, vinegar and other canned fruits and veggies (look at the labels to make sure there are no added preservatives and sugars) 

• Other items such as local honey, nuts, dried beans, sea salt and nutless trail mix (like Enjoy Life Not Nuts! Seed and Fruit Mix

• Occasional treats such as low-salt corn tortilla chips, low-sugar nutrition bars and whole-grain, sugar-free cereals 

Need more ideas? Check out this list of must-have healthy staples! 

Flip Your Fridge and Freezer 

Now that you have your pantry in tip-top shape, it’s time to turn your attention to the refrigerator and freezer. You can apply the same cleaning strategies as you did for the pantry. Throw out or give away anything that doesn’t meet the nutrition standards stated above. This includes looking at the labels of all your frozen meals, breakfast items, processed meats and dairy, dips, spreads and other condiments. 

Refill Your Refrigerator 

You’re almost there! You should have plenty of room now to restock with wholesome, healthy foods. Fridge and freezer items to stock up on include: 

• Fruits and veggies

• Fresh herbs 

• Dried fruit 

• Plant-based milks such as unsweetened almond, cashew or coconut milk 

• Hummus and hot sauce 

• Plain yogurt (regular or Greek) 

• Whole-grain breads 

• Peanut or nut butters 

• Cooked beans and grains 

• Wheat, corn and rice tortillas 

• Frozen fruits and vegetables 

• Garlic and ginger 

• Lean meats 

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KHALIA2 2/3/2020
There you go again with your edits. You make me afraid to open my mouth!!!!! Report
KHALIA2 2/3/2020
Trying my very best to eat healthy! Love fruit and vegetables, yogurt, and NO fried foods!!!! Report
EVILCECIL 2/2/2020
I love 'real' food. Report
KHALIA2 1/24/2020
Great info! Thanks for sharing!!!! Report
GRALAN 1/7/2020
I'd just like to say that if you are not in "survival mode" junk food is not a wise move for putting in your mouth and swallowing. But most of us are so far from "survival mode" it may be the only thing we are surviving is our abuse of ourselves. Some in the Special Forces love Toaster-Pops (or whatever the equivalent), but then they are burning calories like mad. My brother wrestled in High School, and they starved and spit the day of a match and then after weighing-in ate candy bars and drank water like mad.
I wish I'd read this article 3 years ago, but I printed it up for my folder with a program on revamping my kitchen for Real Food on a restricted budget. It is still valid, and I'm happy to have read it and socked it away. Report
RO2BENT 1/7/2020
Junk food is a health hazard Report
KHALIA2 1/6/2020
Fresh fruits and veggies are always good for you! Report
LESSOFMOORE 11/24/2019
I am working toward this. Report
DGRIFFITH51 9/26/2019
I use avocado oil, it was new, and not widely used when this article was written in 2015.

I grate fresh ginger in my food processor and put it into ice cube trays and freeze it. I do the same with garlic. It makes it easy to add to recipes.
ERIN_POSCH 7/9/2019
thank you Report
I did this now my shelfs look like a grocery store, very proud Report
thank you Report
Great advice! Report
Thank you for this article. Report
Thank you for the information. Report
Absolutely great Report
Some times eating veggies are hard on my teeth but if I cook them just right there good. Report
I love whole wheat pastas from amazon. We don't use processed foods anymore Report
I was shocked 9 months ago when I cleared out the processed foods from my pantry--I have so much room now. Pretty much everything I use goes into the refrigerator-- there are dry staples around--but things are so less cluttered. Report
Blondy01 that's the way I've done it. Use it up and replace with healthy food. Report
Healthful foods DO taste better! I guess you have to get used to them if you are not used to them but there is nothing better than a ripe peach or pear or strawberry! Report
Thanks for all the great information! I'm making steps in the right direction. Report
Why would you tell people to leave out the nuts in a trailmix? That's often the healthiest part! In addition to providing a good, natural source of fiber and protein, they're an excellent source of healthy fats. By all means, people, please don't remove nuts from your pantry. Report
I've been trying to eat less processed food, I wish I could just get rid of it all but there's other people in my house that bring junk food home. Also, there's no way I could afford to completely restock my fridge/freezer/pantry with healthy food all at once. Would it work replacing healthy foods gradually? Report
I just did this and it makes the pantry look huge!!! Time to restock the right way. Report
Have done that several times, but we keep bringing in those less healthy foods, because they DO taste better!! Truth be told, healthy food does not taste that good, that's why people have to be nagged constantly to eat healthy. It's a fact! We do the best we can. Report