Summer's here and it’s time for a kitchen makeover! (There’s no granite included, sorry.) Although it’s unlikely I’m going to show up at your house to call you out on lying, not being honest with yourself about what you’re putting in your body is only going to hurt one person…you. So let’s talk about how to do a food overhaul!

First, let’s figure out what is CURRENTLY in your kitchen. The first step in a successful food overhaul is to analyze what is already in stock in your house. Take everything out of the cupboards! Set it all out on the counter and start taking a look.

Are you seeing a lot of items labeled “low-fat?”

These are the first things to toss, considering they usually have way more sugar and calories than their “full-fat” counterparts.

How about items that have some pretty unnatural colors?

These foods are typically loaded with artificial colors and ingredients. Try to toss as many of these as possible!

Everyone likes a good cheat meal some times, but keep it reasonable.

If you wouldn’t eat the listed ingredients on their own, you probably shouldn’t eat the mixture of them with chemicals included.

Can you pronounce the listed ingredients?

No? Ok, toss it NOW.

Don’t be fooled by items posing as healthy.

Watch out for words like “multigrain”. You want foods that say “wholegrain”. Multigrain means they strip the grains and they are no longer “whole” and therefore, not the healthiest.

Also look out for things advertised as “natural” or “made from real ingredients”.

If you read the label, you will usually find they are also made from some very unnatural ingredients.

If you’re having anxiety about tossing your favorite foods, don’t worry! Pretty much every party you attend or restaurant you go to will give you your fill of unhealthy, packaged products. So give your body a fighting chance and change your habits at home! Then when you go out and are not in control, you won’t have to stress about the occasional unhealthy meal. (If you’re never home, well…we’ll get to you later!)

Now that you’ve gotten rid of most of the bad stuff, let’s continue to make sure we get out the stuff you shouldn’t be putting in your body so you’re not tempted! This is where we continue to clean, but also REORGANIZE so you can find the foods you want…

Is the food expired?

Yes, TOSS. No, is it one of the foods in step 1? TOSS.

Has it been in your pantry for over 1 year, but not expired?

Yes, donate it to a food pantry! In the 365 days that item has been sitting there, lots of people have been hungry.

Is sugar one of the first 3 things listed in the ingredients list?


How about sodium?

Go read the labels and check out the sodium content. If you’re not convinced you should toss it, just click here. Ok good, now that we have that out of the way. TOSS IT!

Restock that Fridge

Now it’s time to restock and load you up with some goodies. You may have to redefine your definition of “goodies” because I’m talking green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, pastas and whole grains. Depending on your taste preferences, you can organize your list into 4 categories:

1. Things that come from the earth (fruits and veggies)

This doesn’t have to mean fresh, sometimes canned goods can have just as much nutritional value as the fresh stuff (just make sure it’s low sodium!)
But the fresh stuff just tastes so good so get some of that too!
Dried fruits are also great!

2. Proteins such as nuts, beans, and lean meats

Whenever you’re picking out nuts, make sure you get UNSALTED! Again, refer to the sodium article before asking me WHY!
Beans are packed with nutrient goodness! Eat up!
Canned tuna and salmon
Chicken and turkey

3. Whole grains

Whole grain and high fiber things like pasta, rice, couscous, oatmeal, and quinoa
DO NOT buy white bread, pasta, or flour. Just don’t.

Herbs, spices, and oils

Mix it up with some spices, dried herbs, and oils—It will make your food taste better!

For the best success, make a grocery list before you leave your house to prepare you for the foods you need buy. Make sure you stick to the list once you get into the store.

Do some research beforehand; look through your favorite cookbooks or on our website for recipes, then buy those ingredients necessary. If you’re looking to replace quick snacks such as chips with something healthier, try picking up some almonds or a piece of fruit instead. A few good substitutions a day can go a long way for you and your family!

Check back with us for more healthy habits, tips, and recipes!

Digate Muth, Natalie (November-December 2013). Pantry Raid. Idea Food and Nutrition Tips, 15-19.
“Americans Consume Too Much Sodium (Salt).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 Feb. 2011. Web. 22 Nov. 2013.

Read more great posts by Colleen Shaughnessy about fitness and health at

AuthorColleen Shaughnessy