Back To School Project #1: Fridge & Pantry Clean-Up

Or how your daughter's old skinny jeans can lead to new skinny jeans for you!


Keep the floral skinny jeans that are a little too tight, but so adorable? Trash the Converse that are super comfy, but ripping on the side?
Back To School Clean-Up:
First the closets, next the fridge

These are the types of questions my twin daughters toss at me as we organize their room for the start of middle school next week.  (I'm freaking out, but that's a whole different post.)  Along with New Year's and Spring, Back To School is a great time to clean, organize, and get a fresh start on your goals.  While donating your daughter's outgrown jeans or tossing her grubby shoes, why not take the time to clean out the fridge and pantry? Grab the opportunity to tune up the entire family's diet for better health.

It's not rocket science.  But if you're struggling with where to start, take a 2 step approach:
1. Toss
2. Keep

What to Toss:
  • Expired Food
  • Soda - Regular and Diet
  • Processed, Prepackaged Foods
  • Chips and Cookies
  • Frozen Prepackaged Desserts (popsicles, ice cream, etc.)
Overall, processed foods contribute to more cravings for sugar, higher weight and cholesterol levels. They also tend to contain allergens.  Especially avoid and toss foods containing high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, artificial sweeteners, or mono-sodium glutamate (MSG). If you haven't kicked the soda habit yet, commit to drinking water today.  Stock the fridge with fresh lemons, limes, and oranges to slice and add to water for refreshing calorie- and sugar-free flavor.

What to Keep:
  • wide variety of colorful fresh or frozen fruits and veggies
  • lean white meat from chicken or turkey
  • wild fish
  • raw nuts
  • legumes and beans
  • hummus or non-fat Greek yogurt for dips
  • shirataki noodles and whole grains including quinoa
  • fresh popcorn kernels
  • Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and plenty of spices for seasoning
  • If you must use sweeteners, use sparingly and think "closest to nature": raw sugar, agave, stevia
The Fridge: Friend or Foe?
The general idea is simple: You and your family will eat what's in the house.  If you want to eat healthier and especially if you want to lose weight, get rid of junk food and stock up on fresh, whole foods as much as possible.  Think lean proteins and "fillers" (spinach, kale, legumes, beans, shirataki noodles, whole grains, etc.) with bonus nutrients like fiber to help you feel full and satisfied.  Healthy snacks like fresh fruits and veggies, hummus, nuts, and homemade popcorn also offer hidden nutrients while satisfying everyone's need to "munch."

Like my daughter with her floral skinny jeans, you might have a hard time saying good-bye to the chips, cookies, or frozen meals.  When it gets tough, think about everything you have to gain by freeing up the extra space in your fridge or pantry for foods that help you meet your goals and feel energized and healthy.  Because let's face it, a little clean up now could lead to you feeling a lot more confident in a new pair of skinny jeans later!