One of my challenges for the having my best year this year is living and eating healthily. My first step towards achieving this was re-organising my fridge and pantry, donating any foods that weren't wanted, and restocking with healthy options.
I started with the fridge; after a thorough clean out and then a good wipe down with a solution of vinegar and vanilla extract, I had a sparkling clean and fresh smelling fridge ready to be restocked. And this is what it now looks like:
On the fridge on the left, I have
- low fat yoghurt - natural and fruit - this is great dolloped over cereal, made into a fruit smoothie or as a replacement for cream and sour cream.
- lots of fresh fruit - peaches, apples, oranges, apricots, grapes and strawberries - buy what is in season for the best prices. It is also likely to be local, which is better for the environment.
- low fat milk - we go through a lot of low fat milk; I try and have at least three serves of dairy a day, and Stephen drinks a lot.
- sparkling water - I am determined to stop drinking diet soda, but I really need my fizz! Sparkling water is a great substitute - if you really need to add some flavour, slice a lemon or orange into it, or crush in some mint leaves.
- fresh herbs - I pop fresh herbs into my herb saver and change the water every couple of days and my herbs last up to a week. Fresh herbs are a great addition to most meals; they really add some zing to any meal.
- Up & Go breakfast drinks - these are a quick and easy grab when I run out of time to eat breakfast. While these are not ideal and fresh, wholesome food is better, this is an OK option that prevents a mid morning junk blowout because I am ravenous from skipping breakfast.
On the fridge on the right:
- plenty of fresh veges - I store them in my Tupperware Fridge Savers to extend their life. I always have capsicums (bell peppers), cucumbers, tomatoes, cherry or grape tomatoes, celery, carrots and some sort of lettuce or green like baby spinach or arugula. This means I always have the fixings for a salad, or a snack plate.
- sliced ham and turkey - great for sandwiches or as a protein addition to a salad.
- lean meat - when I took this picture, I had some pork steaks, and some veal leg steaks.
- eggs - these are a great source of protein, and make a quick and easy snack when scrambled and served on a toasted english muffin.
- shredded low fat cheese - shred your own each week and store in a plastic container.
- low fat Babybel cheeses - my son loves these as a snack, and if you like cheese these are tasty and portion controlled!
- low fat hummus and ricotta - great as a dip on a snack; instead of butter on a sandwich; or as a way of adding interest to various meals.
- feta cheese - a fantastic addition to salads or homemade pizza
- various sauces and marinades - these can spice up a meal without adding to many calories. Look for salt reduced versions.
My next step was my pantry. First of all, it was just a mess - things were all over the place; I often bought something and then got home and realised I already had three; I didn't know what I had and what I didn't. After a clean out, I restocked, and the results make me smile every time I walk into the pantry!
These drawers are the only ones that have some junk - some packets of Tiny Teddies cookies that Stephen adores and can have occasionally.
- tinned fruit in natural juice - pears, apricots, pineapples. This is a great way to always have fruit on hand even when it is not in season, and is often cheaper than fresh fruit. I mostly use these in cooking or smoothies.
- Ryvita rye crackers and rice & corn thins- great as a bread substitute, especially when you are craving something crunchy. One of my favourite lunches are the thins, topped with some ricotta, ham, avocado and tomato, sprinkled with basil or oregano and coarse ground black pepper.
- apple puree - this is great as an egg or oil substitute in baking, or as a quick snack.
The next set of drawers contain meal ingredients:
- wholegrain pasta - lasagne sheets and spaghetti. These take slightly longer to cook, but are so much better for you. Check the ingredients to make sure it is 100% wholegrain.
- tins of tuna and salmon - great sources of omega 3 fatty acids (especially salmon), and tinned tuna has much less mercury than fresh tuna at the fishmonger.
- tinned beans and lentils - while it is much cheaper to cook your own beans, I honestly just don't find the time to soak and then cook them. Tins are convenient and these make a great start to a vegetarian meal.
- tetra packs of chicken and vegetable stock - again, home made is better, but store bought is a convenient and adequate option. Make sure you get salt reduced.
- brown rice - great with stirfries, in rice pudding, and as rice salad.
- tinned tomatoes and bottles of tomato puree - use as a base for spaghetti sauce, chili or casseroles and braises.
Next, I have all my staples:
- Brown rice
- Wholegrain macaroni
- Wholemeal breadcrumbs
- Couscous and polenta
- Flour, sugar, etc
Lastly, I have various wholegrain breakfast cereals including weet bix, cheerios, and rolled oats; as well my baking supplies shelf.
Since I started my "best year" challenge at the start of the year, I have lost just over 3kgs (6 lbs) and I am feeling great. I have a ton of energy and I feel so much healthier! I challenge you to start your fridge and pantry clean out today!!