by Barbara McNeely
August is a great time to clean up and clean out. A new school schedule is about to start, and the holidays are within sight, so your kitchen is a great place to start. Maybe this describes your kitchen space:
- You can’t find what you’re looking for.
- You keep buying items and then finding the same item at the back of your pantry.
- You find many foods that are expired.
- You’ve been making healthier choices, and you want to clean out the unhealthy items.
Think about all the places in your kitchen space where you store food and food items, like your pantry, cabinets, fridge and freezer. Those are the places that likely need your attention and could use a little better organization.
Out with the Old
Check the expiration dates on the foods in your kitchen space. Consider throwing out items that are long past their expiration date. Sometimes foods will lose their flavor or nutritional value. Worse, you don’t want to eat foods that have gone bad and can be harmful to the health of you and your family. Make Room For The Healthy It’s hard for me to throw out food, even if it’s something I know I won’t use. I’ve been known to push things to the very back of the pantry instead of throwing them out. Eventually, they expire and get tossed. This happened a few years back with all of the “vegetable” and canola that lived in the back of our pantry; once I realized that I would never use them, out they went.
If you don’t want to throw good food in the trash, consider donating unwanted items to a food bank as long as they are unopened and have not expired. Some “less healthy” things you may want to remove include:
- Vegetable oils and canola oils – these are all highly processed oils.
- Processed foods that include hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils in their ingredient list; these oils are all trans fats.
- Foods containing high fructose corn syrup.
- White foods – especially refined sugars, white flour, and products made with either of these items.
- Foods containing lots of additives or preservatives.
- Foods containing MSG (monosodium glutamate).
There are lots of ways to organize the foods and food products in your kitchen space. I like to put like foods together. For example, I have sections for vinegars, oils, sweeteners, spices, dried beans, seeds and nuts. The canned goods can also be arranged by type. This will make things easier to find. The items you use most frequently should be positioned at eye level. Consider, also, the foods that you want your children to have easy access to and put these on a lower shelf.
Barbara McNeely is a natural health coach who owns Mariposa Naturals LLC. She is passionate about cooking and passionate about showing others that cooking at home can be fun and easy. She is also developing a line of natural personal care products. To learn more, visit www.MariposaNaturals.com.