Take a deep breath. Ahhh. Do you smell a hint of spring, with flowers blooming and the sun shining on your shoulders? As you put away the winter clothes and bring out the warm weather attire, you can also take advantage of that boost in energy to tackle another area: Your kitchen!
Let’s take a walk through your pantry and see what we find:
- Cereal: Pretty pictures and marketing slogans on the box don’t compensate for unhealthy ingredients like corn syrup, white flour, salt and Trans fat. Your breakfast cereal should contain at least three grams of fiber per serving, providing you with whole grains for nutrients. A better choice than a sugary cereal: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Rolled Oats, with five grams of fiber per serving, and no artificial ingredients. Prefer cold cereal? Try Enjoy Life Perky’s Crunchy Flax, which is also gluten-free and contains six grams of fiber, seven grams of protein and omega-3s.
- Soup: If you see the words “creamy” or “cheesy” in the description, your soup probably contains more fat, salt and calories than you want. Look for clear broths to which you can add fresh vegetables or choose vegetable soups that are low in sodium, such as Health Valley No Salt Organic Vegetable Soup.
- Cookies: Yes, we know, those chocolate sandwich cookies with the sugary, high fat “white stuff” in between are so good. The problem: Most cookies contain Trans fat, white flour and corn syrup. Solution: Country Choice Chocolate Organic Sandwich Cremes, made with wheat flour and 0 grams of trans fat, and Kinnikinnick Kinnitoos Sandwich Cookies, which are gluten-free and also have 0 grams of trans fat.
- Pasta and Rice: Grains are groovy, right? If they’re made of whole wheat flour or whole grains and are free of artificial ingredients and low in salt. Those bright yellow and red cans with the cheesy, salty sauce belong in the “give-away pile.” In their place, try Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta Spaghetti Style, which is made with stone ground brown rice, and Orgran Buckwheat Pasta Spirals, which is high in fiber and gluten-free.
- Coffee and tea: Treat yourself to the finest coffee, such as LavAzza Espresso Premium Arabica Ground Coffee, because a smaller amount will satisfy you. When it comes to tea, try a variety, from green tea to herbal tea. In the evening, ease into sleep with Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea.
- Soda: Mention sugary soda to your dentist or doctor, and watch your health professional groan! A better choice: Steaz Green Tea Soda
Zero Calorie Iced Teaz Raspberry or try different types of coconut water, such as ALO Coco Exposed Passion Fruit Pineapple Pure Coconut Water.
Joanne Eglash, Vitacost.com’s Diet Diva, has a master of science in holistic nutrition and more than 15 years experience as a nutrition consultant, blogger, author and journalist. She has written for a wide range of publications and websites, including ediets.com,Natural Health magazine, Shape magazine, Success magazine, Energy for Women and Chefs. Joanne is currently the national Diets columnist for the online news and entertainment site, Examiner.com, and a features food columnist for Yahoo.