By Kaitlin Mock, RD

Every spring, we clean out our houses from top to bottom. Why not do a little spring cleaning in the kitchen too?  Below are a few tips to stock your fridge and pantry with healthier items.

Kaitlin Mock, RD

1. Toss out expired condiments and replace them with better choices.

Many of us keep condiments for too long, so clean out the fridge door and purchase some healthier replacements: oil-based salad dressings like balsamic vinaigrette or Italian dressing instead of ranch.

  • If you aren’t ready to give up your ranch dressing yet, try a yogurt-based ranch dressing in the produce section of the grocery store or whip up your own by mixing a ranch seasoning packet with plain nonfat yogurt.
  • Use plain nonfat yogurt instead of mayonnaise or sour cream and yellow mustard instead of honey mustard.

2. Refill your freezer with homemade meals and frozen desserts.

Ask a friend, family member or charitable group if they want your ice cream, fudgsicles, microwave meals, or frozen appetizers.

  • For a healthier frozen dessert treat, try homemade creamsicles. Blend low fat yogurt and your favorite fruit together in a blender or food processor and place in the freezer in an ice cube tray with toothpicks placed in the middle of each cube.
  • To refill your freezer, make your favorite recipes in larger portions and freeze in small containers. Home prepared frozen meals can be much healthier than store bought.

3. Donate canned foods in your pantry.

Often times, our pantry items have long shelf lives, which make them great donation items. Spring cleaning your pantry can help you adopt healthier eating habits, and allow you to donate to a local food bank.

  • If your canned fruits are in heavy syrup, donate them. Replace them with fruit canned in their own juices.
  • If your canned vegetables contain more than 140 mg of sodium per serving on the label, donate them. Replace them with no salt added canned vegetables.
  • Alfredo pasta sauce is high in fat and calories. Donate and purchase marinara (tomato-based sauce) next time.
  • Cake, cookie, and brownie box mixes – donate them all.
  • Consider purchasing some healthier items to donate to a local food pantry along with your unwanted items.

Healthy eating does not mean you have to start eating only tofu and salads; it’s all about making small changes to your diet to improve the nutritional value of your meals. Let the spring cleaning of our kitchens begin!

Make an appointment: 855-WVU-CARE