Many people are trying to eat healthier, and I have what may be the best tip to make healthy eating a new lifelong habit, not an unsustainable frenzy.
Purge the Pantry
If your fridge and cupboards are full of junk, you’re probably going to eat it.
No matter what types of changes you’re trying to make (eat less carbs, less processed foods, paleo or Whole30, gluten free), keeping the foods you’re avoiding is continuous exposure to temptation.
You don’t need that in your life.
What to Do
Go through all cupboards, the fridge, and the freezer.
Put everything that doesn’t align with your goals into a box.
For example, if you’re trying to eat less carbs you may want to get rid of pastas and breads.
While you’re at it, check for expiration dates and read nutrition facts on everything. This forces you to consider each item in your pantry, not just the obvious junk food. If it’s expired, purge it.
Be ruthless. Hanging on to that package of cookies because you might want them on a Saturday night is just sabotaging yourself.
Now, getting rid of the excess junk in your pantry doesn’t mean you can never enjoy a cookie again. When you want a cookie, you can go to the grocery store or bakery and get one. This creates a barrier to prevent mindlessly grabbing the package and munching down while watching Netflix.
So don’t let those “what if” or “but I…” thoughts keep you from purging something.
I suggest doing this before your next grocery shopping trip, so that you know what essentials (spices, condiments, etc.) you might need to pick up.
What to Do with What You Purge
I get it. It feels wasteful to throw out perfectly good food. There are a few different things you can do before throwing the box of purge items in the trash.
First, if it’s expired, throw it out. That should be obvious.
Donate non-perishable items to your local food pantry. Perishable items can be given away to friends, and opened items can be given away to really close friends.
If you aren’t willing to find a new home for the food you’re purging, just throw it out.
If your goals are to eat healthier, achieving that goal means not eating it and it will go to waste anyway. It’s not worth keeping.
After you’ve purged the pantry, make sure to avoid re-introducing the junk food into your home.
Like I said, this doesn’t mean you never eat certain things again. It just means that those foods aren’t constantly around. Instead, you’ll enjoy them on occasion, with intent.
The side benefit of purging your pantry is that your shelves and fridge will be much cleaner, and you have the opportunity to better organize everything.
All the expired food and junk will be gone, leaving you with a great foundation to eat healthier and make your new habits stick. Score!