De-Junk Your Kitchen - 8 Steps to a Cleaner, Healthier Kitchen!
It’s official - it’s back to real life!
Labor Day has passed and summer’s in the rearview mirror as we transition into the cooler months and the excitement builds for all the Fall activities. With that change of season it can be a great time to clean out the cupboard… literally. This actually can be a focused step towards getting realigned with your health goals. If you’re someone who gets frustrated even walking into your kitchen because you see everything out of place, you don’t know where anything is or you are stumbling over old cans of expired condiments, then read on! I definitely used to be like this. I moved into a new apartment last October and it took me almost an entire year to get organized in the kitchen. Once I made my kitchen look more like the picture below than the picture to the life - I found the mere idea of walking into the kitchen more enjoyable. I found that cooking was fun again and I found joy in the organization. The cleanliness of my kitchen actually helped inspire me to eat cleaner. Before I organized it, I would be much more likely to order take out, skip meals and not grocery shop.
The water boiler, toaster, electric tooth cleaner (we don’t have an outlet in our bathroom - don’t ask!) and the nutri-bullet were all cluttering the kitchen table, the supplements and medications were scattered, I could never find anything in the pantry and our collection of tea’s and spices were a mess! It’s still a work in progress, but I tell you it has really helped lower my stress in the kitchen. Don’t miss the end of the blog where I go into some practical steps for food prep and pantry staples that make any busy professional’s life easier.
What You’ll Need
A variety of mason jars and glass containers. Get a mixture of sizes. Aim for glass because plastic does leach into our foods and we don’t need more toxins! Amazon has a great variety for a pretty reasonable price. You can also use left-over containers for Tupperware®.
Label Maker or Tape - this is so you can write out the new subcategories for your pantry.
Cleaning Solution - De-junking definitely includes cleaning those tough to reach surface areas. Opt for a chemical free cleaner. Method® or Dr. Bronner’s® offer great alternatives. Or if you are more of an arts and crafts person you can make your own natural cleaner from white vinegar & baking soda.
The ability to let go and maybe even have some fun!!
A few hours of time - if this is important to you then find the time to dedicate to it.
An upbeat playlist – let’s get real, you aren’t doing this in silence.
Steps for Success
Take everything out of the pantry and put it onto a counter.
Clean the cupboards with your chemical free cleaner.
Go through each item and utilize that ability to let it go! If it has expired, you haven’t used it in a year or you have no idea when or why you would use it - TOSS IT. If it is highly processed - we’re talking hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, or using the words, “bleached”, “artificial”, “natural flavors”, or using food dyes then TOSS IT. If you are taking the time to start fresh for the season and recommit to your health goals, let’s toss out anything that’s going to set you back. Out of sight, out of mind. If you’re worried about waste, there are plenty of homeless shelters where you can donate that would welcome the products.
Try to put each item into a mason jar or glass container. The idea is to make everything look uniform so when you open your cupboard you will feel relaxed and not stressed!
Label each item or group of items into categories and put them back on the shelf, i.e., spices, nuts, seeds, protein powders, super foods, flours. I’m still working on this one myself!
Add in some deliciousness! Hit the market and fuel up on real foods. If you open your fridge and you see colors everywhere - you know you hit the health jackpot!
Meal Prep Like a Boss - take a couple of hours on the weekend or when you have time to prep some food for the week. This could look like boiling 6 eggs, doing a quick overnight oat recipe, grilling or baking chicken or fish, sauteeing up ground turkey or beef, washing and cutting your veggies and making a pot of sprouted quinoa or rice. This way you have plenty to choose from throughout the week.
Now this next one is just practical food advice if you are someone strapped for time. It might be helpful to fill your pantry with quick staples to go to in a pinch. Pick a high quality protein granola bar with as little sugar and added ingredients as possible. RX bar, Go Raw are good examples. Have a few cans of wild salmon so you can make a salmon salad. Trader Joe’s sells them for just under $3 a can. Another good go to would be unprocessed beef jerky (Zora), nuts/seeds or low sugar trail mix and hummus with some pre-cut veggie sticks. I’m also a huge fan of vital proteins and they now have to go packets of their protein powders. You can even get matcha collagen protein! Dump it into some water and you’ve got a protein kick to keep ya going