Comments Off on >Spring Clean your Pantry

>Spring Clean your Pantry

Category : Healthy Eating

>Want to lose weight? Want to have more energy? Want to feel good about what you are eating? March is National Nutrition Month, so here’s the plan of action: Eat whole foods whenever possible and cover half your plate in fruits and vegetables at every meal.

I often work with clients who want to lose weight and expect that working out with a trainer for a few hours a week will offset their bad habits the rest of the week. It’s actually the time outside the gym, when a person isn’t working out, that counts the most toward weight loss. You must embrace a healthy lifestyle to keep the gains you make from all the hard work of exercise. An active, healthy lifestyle will help you maintain a healthy weight and live your life to the fullest. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your personal path to a healthy lifestyle.

Step 1: Clean out your pantry

Ask yourself: Is it FOOD or is it a FOOD PRODUCT? Take a look at the foods in your home. If they have more than 6 ingredients it’s probably a food product, despite all the healthy labeling. If your grandparents wouldn’t recognize it or its ingredients, THROW IT OUT! Would you rather feel guilty about throwing something away or about eating junk? Keep in mind that it is much easier to toss it than to burn off the excess calories. Consider that a person who weighs 150lbs will have to walk nearly an HOUR just to burn off six Oreo cookies!

Step 2: Go shopping

Now that you’ve removed all the junk, your kitchen may look a bit bare. Your assignment: Go shop the border of the grocery store and choose a week’s worth of fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, and dairy. Note that most of the food products are in the aisles.

Reading labels at the store may seem very time consuming, but once you have discovered what not to buy you can save a lot of time and money. You will be able to skip certain areas of the store completely! For example:

• Skip the cracker & cookie aisle: There’s zero FOOD there.

• Skip the liquid calorie aisle of juices and soft drinks (not FOOD!)

• Skip the cereal aisle except to get old fashioned oatmeal

• Skip most of the frozen foods department…it’s mostly food products.

Step 3: Cover Half your Plate in Vegetables and Fruits

This is the new “keep it simple” message from the USDA and It is much easier than counting how many servings you have eaten or measuring each serving. Here are some ways to eat more:

• Put vegetables/fruits on your plate first and cover half your plate with them

• If you have seconds, be sure that you reload your plate the same way (or just have more vegetables)

• Make it a habit to eat a fruit or vegetable with every meal and snack.

• Keep a fruit bowl in plain sight instead of a candy dish.

Step 4: Follow the 80/20 rule

Nobody’s perfect, so follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time, eat whole foods. The rest of the time, eat things that are as whole as possible. For most of us it simply is not possible to prepare a “from scratch” meal like Grandma used to make each and every day. Here are some suggestions for healthy, quick meals:


1. Old Fashioned Oatmeal (less processed than the instant stuff) add nuts and dried fruit

2. Hard-boiled egg and fresh fruit

3. Scrambled eggs are quick too; add left-over veggies and/or canned beans to increase fiber content and get that first serving of veggies for the day.


1. Whole wheat bread with at least 2.5 grams of fiber/slice to make your sandwich.

2. Lean lunch meats are fine, just look for the least processed ones.

3. Peanut butter (go natural)…no added sugar.

4. Be sure to include lots of fresh fruit, raw vegetables


1. Broiled fish or chicken (one quarter of your plate)

2. Brown Rice/Quinoa/Potato (one quarter of your plate) Prepare enough for two meals to save on time later in the week

3. Steam your vegetables until they are al dente (still firm) and cover half your plate!


1. Fresh fruit and a handful of nuts make a heart healthy snack.

2. Make your own trail mix with walnuts and dried fruit.

Cleaning out your pantry and creating a healthy relationship with food is a critical step toward your healthy lifestyle. It may seem like a lot of work up front, but focusing on improving the foods you and your family are eat, will give you more energy, and best of all, you’ll naturally lose weight.

Karin Jennings owns and operates XO Fitness, LLC in De Pere with her husband, Ryan. She has been a certified personal trainer since 1996. XO Fitness specializes in personal and small group training. They focus on helping people reach their health & fitness goals through exercise and lifestyle changes.