6 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Pantry from New York Dietitian

Healthy, Inexpensive Nutrition Must-Haves Without Compromising Flavor (No Fooling!)

Basil Tomato

Finally, FINALLY the first buds of spring are here. It’s been a long, long winter. Many of us feel like we’ve been stuck inside for the last few months, waiting out the storm. Our pantries, and perhaps eating habits, have suffered.

Oftentimes, when we think healthy eating, we think a high price tag and no flavor. 

It’s time to get in the Mediterranean frame of mind. Not all of us can take a trip to the coast, but we can all strip down. Well, peel off the heavy wool sweaters and clean out the pantries that might be glutted with not-so-flavorful-or-healthy food choices. So, clear out those chips and crackers for something way tastier and healthier that fits any budget, via the Mediterranean.

  1. Replace chips & crackers with …
    1. Baked corn tortilla chips. Everybody loves a chip. But packaged potato chips hit rock bottom on the nutrition chart. Baked corn tortilla chips are a great way to get the crunch without all the funky preservatives. AND, you can make them even healthier at home. Take your corn tortillas, divide them in eight triangles, brush with olive oil and lime juice, and sprinkle them with your favorite flavors. Bake for about 7 – 10 minutes and voila!
    2. Homemade sweet potato chips. Bake them in the oven, paper thin, for the crunch you’re looking for. Kale chips, apple chips, mixed nuts and more! Get creative. Snacking never tasted so good!
  2. Replace salt with spices … rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil. Americans already have too much sodium in their diet. Plant a small herb garden in your kitchen, on your balcony. What a great way to get the family involved in healthy eating, kids involved in taking care of things, and having fresh, flavorful food.
  3. Replace white, simple carbs with complex carbs. White rice, white bread, and white pasta can go, making room for whole-grain rice, bread and pasta, quinoa, chia and more. Complex carbs are essential to fueling our brains and bodies. Moreover, by skipping carbs – which is something many diets recommend, causing me incredible angst – your brain stops regulating serotonin and can cause crankiness. Don’t skip carbs, choose the right carbs.

    Egg Muffins

  4. Replace quick go-to-meals like mac & cheese with eggs. ‘Tis the season, and eggs with their magical properties are an ideal snack food. Protein, choline, minerals, cholesterol, lecithin, vitamins A, D, E & K … eggs are a power player when it comes to healthy eating. Omelets, frittatas, boiled eggs with whole-grain toast and more. Easy, tasty and healthy!
  5. Replace ice cream with yogurt, drizzled over fresh fruit or in a delicious smoothie. Replace sour cream with sugar-free yogurt to scoop over eggs or in creamy salsas.

    Kefir Smoothie

  6. Replace meat with legumes and beans in sauces, pastas, and soups. High fiber, low fat, beans and pulses are a great way to add texture and variety to your meals.

It’s time to go Mediterranean. Healthy, low-cost choices can turn your pantry from a high-fat, high-sodium, high-sugar trap to a nutritional, flavorful experience! It just takes a little imagination.