How To Clean Out Your Pantry (15 Items To Toss & Keep!)
Written by: Shelby Torrese - Jan. 18, 2022
As a Nutrition Coach, people always ask me how to stop eating x, y, z. People’s vices range from chips to chocolate to candy to pretzels, and just about everything in between. The answer is so simple, people almost can’t handle it. Do. Not. Keep. It. In. The. House!!
Seriously, it’s that easy.
When you have things around that are tempting, you’re going to be tempted! So, toss the temptations, and also toss anything that isn’t good for your goals. Today I’m going to give you some of my favorite tips for cleaning out your pantry, as well as 15 common pantry items and whether you should keep them or toss them! Following this simple list will help you have a clean, healthy kitchen for you to get started fresh with. Your surroundings are important, and making sure your kitchen is stocked with only good things is key to your success!
Tips For Cleaning Out Your Pantry
Before you start getting into the nitty-gritty of your pantry and kitchen items, there are a few quick ways to determine if something needs to go. First, always remember to:
- Check the expiration date
- Toss anything you haven’t used in 6 months
- Get rid of anything with mold
- Throw out anything you or your family don’t like
- Toss anything that has a leak or broken seal
- Get rid of anything that smells or tastes stale
After you’ve gotten those items out of the way, we can get into the top 15 toss or keep items!
15 Common Pantry Items To Toss Or Keep
When creating a wholesome kitchen, you want to make sure you’re not hoarding any items that could be sabotaging your health goals. After following this list, your pantry (and you!) will be in great shape!
It’s best to toss cereal. Most cereal options are loaded with unnecessary sugar and additives. If you like to have carbs and crunch in the morning, swap your cereal for a fresh sourdough loaf. You can top it with protein-rich eggs, healthy fats like avocado slices, or grass fed butter. I promise you won’t miss your cereal after a few days of fueling your body with real food.
Definitely keep your oats. As long as they’re plain, steel cut oats, they’re A-ok. Do toss any oats that are prepackaged with sugar, unnatural flavors, and additives. Simple oats are a great ingredient to have on hand. Not only are oats filling, but they’re quick and easy to make. Plus, you can dress them up sweet or savory, depending on your mood.
Toss the chips! You know you can never have just one. Plus, most chips are cooked in vegetable or seed oils, which are inflammatory. They can cause bloating, swelling, and more cravings. Instead, replace your chips with a healthy mix of nuts. They offer the same crunch, and much more vitamins and minerals. Plus, you can add in dried fruit, dark chocolate, spices, or coconut shavings to change them up.
Nuts are a big yes. Just like mentioned above, they make for a great replacement when you have a craving for something crunchy and salty, or even crunchy and sweet. They’re packed with healthy fats, and are so portable. Plus, kids love them too!
5. Vegetable Oil
Toss! Vegetable oils are inflammatory, meaning they cause inflammation in the body. Inflammation can look like redness of the skin, bloated stomach, swollen joints and extremities, and that’s just external issues! Swap your vegetable oils for extra virgin olive oil and/or avocado oil. They’re both much healthier, and can withstand higher smoke points.
KEEP (sort of…)
This one can be tricky. You always want to make sure you rinse your rice, no matter what kind you buy. It’s ok whether you like brown or white rice, however you definitely want to toss any pre-mixed rice options. These are things like pre seasoned rice, pre made rice, anything that’s not just dry, plain rice. Rice always needs to be rinsed before using, and so there’s no point in buying pre-spiced rice if you’re just going to rinse it off!
7. Canned Vegetables
Toss the canned veggies. Most cans are lined with BPA, and leek into the food inside. Instead, if you don’t want to or can’t buy fresh produce, opt for frozen. Frozen vegetables are just as convenient and affordable, but are generally better for you. Frozen fruits and vegetables are simply washed and frozen, whereas canned options are sitting in high-sodium liquids.
Potatoes are great, definitely keep them! Try to go for more colorful options, like sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes, and yams. The more colorful they are, the more vitamins and minerals they have to offer. Pro tip: Curb the carb spike by always pairing your potatoes with a protein.
9. AP Flour
Toss! Instead, opt for whole wheat flour, coconut flour, almond flour, or cassava flour. All of these options can be utilized in place of all-purpose (AP) flour. AP flour contains bleached flour, and usually a range of additives like gums and fillers. I assure you there are plenty of recipes that use the previously mentioned flours instead of AP flour.
10. Nut Butter
Nut butters can definitely stay! No matter which nut butter you like best, make sure to read the ingredients and make sure the only ingredient is the nut of choice (with the option of salt!). Stay away from nut butters with vegetable and seed oils, like palm oil, sunflower oil, and other inflammatory oils.
Pasta is an easy way to gain unwanted weight. Yes, it makes for an easy dinner, but there are plenty of quick dinner recipes that don’t include pasta. Toss the pasta and swap for zucchini or spaghetti squash noodles, cauliflower rice, or other vegetable-based dishes.
12. Dried Beans & Lentils
If you’ve never used dried beans and lentils, prepare to make the switch! They’re much better for you than canned beans and lentils, for similar reasons as canned vegetables. Plus, with dried beans and lentils, you resoak them (sprout them) which helps make them easier to digest. They’re also bagged and not stored in high-sodium liquid, or a BPA-lined can.
Get rid of the mayonnaise! Sorry, but it’s got to go. Mayo is just an additive-packed fat source, and not the good kind. There are so many ways to replace mayonnaise, there’s no need to keep it on hand. I replace mayo with everything from avocado, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and more.
Keep, keep, keep the collagen!! Collagen is a must in my kitchen. Particularly Super Youth collagen, which is packed with anti-aging protein, hair and nail healthy vitamins and minerals, and is so convenient to take on the go. Super Youth collagen comes in a variety of flavors (and even unflavored!), so you never get tired of it! Add it into water alone, into smoothies, into baking recipes, coffee, the options are endless!
15. Soft Drinks
Lose the soft drinks! They’re packed with unnecessary sugar, and only make you crave more sugar. Drinking one soda can be the equivalent of eating three candy bars! Trust me, just throw the soda away. Instead, sip on delicious Super Youth collagen, cold-pressed juice, a sparkling water, or tea.