Where is Danger Lurking in Your Kitchen?

Anytime is a good time to give your kitchen a healthy inspection. Nasty foods and hidden pitfalls are just waiting to tempt you into reverting to bad habits. They may even be disguising themselves in a "healthy" cloak. To have healthy habits and a healthier lifestyle, you first must live in a healthy environment.

Face it: No matter how motivated you are to get healthy, temptation is going to happen. It’s just a matter of time. And when it happens, you’ll need healthy foods and snacks within arm’s reach to come to the rescue. Not every day will be an easy one and the world won’t end if you have an occasional candy bar. But you sure don’t need to make it easy to take a step backward.

There’s no better time to take stock of what’s in your kitchen and be objective about whether it’ll hurt or help you later on. You may have developed an attachment to the cheesecake on the bottom shelf or the movie theater butter popcorn stashed behind the toaster, but this is no time to be sentimental. Your health is at stake!

Start with the fridge and pantry. Focus on replacing sugary and high-calorie foods with whole grains and lower-calorie alternatives.
  • Throw out: Thick dressings, white rice, creamers, white pasta, chips, dip, soda, mayonnaise, pudding and just say no to Twinkies!
  • Keep: Vinaigrettes, spinach, nuts, sweet potatoes, whole wheat pasta, grain rice, tomatoes, oatmeal, carrots, salsa, yogurt, mustard, natural applesauce.
  • Put on probation (if they become a problem, get a substitute): High-fat cheese, whole milk, butter, ice cream, eggs, cooking oil, beef.
Then move on to the rest of the kitchen:
  • Learn to read food labels
  • Buy a sturdy cutting board for all the fresh veggies you’ll be cutting up
  • Get plenty of plastic bags and containers for portioning out prepared foods and storing healthy leftovers
  • Collect healthy, quick recipes
  • Toss out all those pizza coupons
  • Get a few drinking bottles for keeping cold water in the fridge
  • Put a bowl of fruit and granola/breakfast bars by the back door
And while we are still in the kitchen...

... learn where to spend your weight loss dollars. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, it takes more than reading a book or joining a gym. It really takes a lifestyle change of consistently picking up good habits and chucking old habits to the curb. Exchanging habits takes some time, so the smartest thing you can do is to make it easy on yourself. That means making it easy on your pocketbook too.

How can saving some dough make you a little less "doughy" around the middle? By spending smartly. Weight loss is not necessarily going to be cheap. But the more you make your money work for you, the more you stretch your dollars like a tight hamstring, the more likely you’ll be building a program you can stick with.

You will need to spend some money to do things differently than you are today. All change costs something. By spending money in the right way, you can set yourself up with tons of options and a collection of healthy resources that make a huge difference. But starting from square one, some things are worth spending money on and some things aren’t.

Invest in:
  • Fresh food and produce
  • A pitcher with a filter for all that water you’re going to need
  • Spices so healthy food doesn’t get boring
  • Cookbooks
  • Tupperware (the greatest gift to combat fast food convenience)
  • Rewards for yourself
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Member Comments

Good article. Report
It is not necessary to throw "bad" foods out, but gradually transition to healthier alternatives. Figure out what your triggers are; they can be vastly different for different people. I do not agree with stocking up on granola bars. Have you read the labels? Most are glorified candy bars and will spike insulin levels. As far as throwing out pizza coupons, even pizza can be okay if it is loaded with veggies and ordered with half the cheese and no meat. It is more important to look at the total meal, not the individual components. Of course, if ALL or MOST of the individual components are unhealthy, the meal will be too. In short, use common sense and keep an open mind about learning to like healthier foods. Our tastes can change with conditioning. Report
Maybe I didn't read enough comments, but for me, foods are not the trigger, a lot of food is the goal when I'm in that "zone", a lot of anything is what I'll eat, and eat, and eat. I love chicken and oatmeal and greenbeans and onions and. . . . For example; I like only a certain kind of candy. I can have a box of that candy in my house and can leave it alone until it gets moldy, and I have to throw it out. However, hit me with a death in the family, and a lot of oatmeal with raisins can give me comfort. Or a ton of toasted cheese sandwiches made with Ezekial bread and low-fat cheese. Hmm. You pushed a button. Report
I absolutely not giving up white rice. There are some foods that are cultural to the core and white rice is one of those foods to me. I control my portion size and I don't have too much but I get tired of people bashing white rice.

Whatsmore, brown rice is just NASTY tasting. Report
I have to agree with some of the comments. I don't see any problem with eggs. We toss the yolks and make egg white omletes every Sunday. I don't see the issue with pudding either. If it's made with skim milk it seems better than ice cream. Report
Good article. And I agree with those opposed to throwing out food. Over the last couple years, I've made the switch from white bread, pastas and rice over to whole wheat. I've learned about and actually really like quinoa and couscous. But, I didn't throw out a loaf of white bread or a bag of white rice. I put the healthier alternative on my grocery list when I ran out of the other. Now, it's no problem for us. =)

My biggest pitfall is the coffee creamer... I've learned to drink my coffee without it most of the time, but Hubby won't so there's always at least one thing of it in the frige. Report
What about SALT?? Report
Lol, I started to read the articke thinking it was about germs! Report
I enjoyed Mike's article even though I don't agree with everything. As human beings we need to think for ourselves when reading anything. I just finished the kitchen makeover this weekend and I realize my "trigger" foods may be different than someone else's so I made sure those foods were gone. Eggs are not my trigger foods so I have no fear leaving them on the list. However, ANY kind of cereal or bar triggers my spiral downward. They are definately gone. Mike had some very good ideas here but we need to realize he is speaking to the masses and take responsibility for our own specific organizational skills. Report
I have to agree with a lot of these others who have commented. I am not going to throw out food but rather will replace it with healthier versions as I restock my pantry & fridge as needed. I find that by easing these foods out, is a lot less noticable than all of a sudden having everything brown and healthier. I detest health/energy food bars, and they are full of sugar, I honestly cannot see where they are considered good for you. Eggs are healthy, in fact so is pretty much everything in moderation. If this article is to guide us, please research a little more... Of course, if I was such an expert on the subject of health and followed what I'm preaching, I guess I wouldn't be needing to lose all these extra pounds. Report
While I agree that anyone should rid their house of "trigger foods" that cause a binge I have to disagree with column. For instance, eggs are a great source of protein. Whole grain pasta and brown rice have additional fiber and its what I choose about 75% of the time, but let's face it, no one became obese by binging on white rice. Many Asian diets revolve around white rice--its the portion size and what you eat with the pasta and the rice that needs to be watched.

Give up beef? Wait a minute, am I on some kind of strict diet here? Who is this guy....oh, a "writer and an artist" well, so am I! Andd I''m also a former WW leader who knows there is nothing at all wrong with lean beef.

I guess like all things SP columnists need to be taken in moderation.
I love eggs. They're a great source of protein. Throw out a yolk or two if you want to keep the calories down, but keep the eggs. And inappropriate is spelled wrong. Report
I'm not in favor of granola bars and breakfast bars. Most taste nasty and are full of sugar. Pudding, lower fat ice cream, and lean beef all have a place in a reasonable diet. Bad advice. Report
I've been slowly making over my kitchen for some time now - instead of tossing ALL of the "bad" stuff, I've made a point to phase it out and replace it with healthier alternatives. I have tossed SOME bad things, though: white pasta and white sugar, since those are two things I know I can abuse. If they're not in my house, it's often more effort to go get them than I'm willing to expend.

One thing about this article did give me pause, though: the recommendation for Tupperware. With all the controversy surrounding plastics and food (and with the mounting evidence against them), I feel it would be more responsible to recommend glass containers. Sure, there are BPA-free plastics now, but what's to say there won't be some OTHER hazardous components of these new-and-improved plastics in the near future? Report
This is a great article. The author is correct when he states that this is a lifestyle change not a diet. Understanding this concept is key in losing weight and living a more healthier life. Report


About The Author

Mike Kramer
Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.
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