If a food is in your possession or located in your residence, either you, someone you love, or someone you marginally tolerate will eventually eat it. Everyone loves makeovers! A fresh start, and new outlook on the journey, out with the old and in with the new! But we’re not talking about a new haircut and beard trim or trading out your mom jeans for yoga pants. We’re talking in the kitchen!
Starting a new fitness program can be exciting…..it can also be a little stressful. Especially when it comes to nutrition. When trying to make the best nutrition decision available, it’s best to not have temptation within arm’s reach. It is a known fact that if there is a food in your house, either you, or someone you love, or at least someone you tolerate in your house will eventually eat it. And it’s probably going to be you.
Sounds good if it’s high quality lean meats and veggies. Not so much for sodas, candy, and processed foods.
In other words, we want to keep high quality foods that work towards your nutrition goals around the house.
If a food and/or drink isn’t conducive to your goals, why would you keep it? Insert defensive, self-justifying excuse here:
- I hate wasting food
- It was on special
- My kid/husband/wife/roommate/dog likes these
- It’s for special occasions (like this Tuesday, when I’ll have a bad day at work)
Let’s be serious, if it’s not helping you reach your goals then you don’t need it.
A kitchen makeover will take out all non-nutritious items or ones that trigger you to engage in unhealthy eating habits and replace them with ample amounts of health-promoting foods.
A healthy kitchen will help you stay in control and on track. Eliminate the decision 15 minutes before dinner time if you want to cook a balanced meal or just eat a frozen pizza by not having the Pizza as a convenient choice in the first place!
Drive thru fast food joints, processed snacks, and sugary soft drinks are literally thrown in our face on every corner and in every moment. You will learn that a healthy kitchen can be a safe “home-base” from the food war-zone going on outside your home, and you will begin appreciate the healthy options that are available there once it’s been cleansed of the bad stuff.
How to Do it
Get a couple of those large black trash bags, were going to fill em’ up! Now gather all the unhealthy foods from your fridge, pantry, and cabinets. If you have snacks hidden in places……get those too. We’re setting ourselves up for success! If there is some foods with redeeming qualities (Cream corn, canned green beans, spam,etc) you can take it to the local food bank or soup kitchen. If it’s complete junk, throw it out! We want it all out of the house. If you think that it’s junk……it is.
“But What is Unhealthy Food”
Isn’t this a waste of food? No way! If it’s junk, then I don’t consider it food anyway. Sorry.
Look at it this way, would you dig you dinner out of the dumpster? No way (I hope) It could be spoiled, have bacteria, mixed with trash, expired, etc. Its garbage, and it doesn’t help you reach your goals of a healthy lifestyle.
Eating “junk” foods is the same. It has zero nutritional value and can actively take away from your health!
Still not sure what to throw out? Try these guidelines:
Here’s a general idea of what we mean. Do you have any of the following at home
- Obvious junk foods
- Chocolates or candy
- Soda/pop/sweetened drinks
- Alcohol, especially sweetened mixed drinks (although small amounts of red wine may have health benefits)
- Instant foods like cake mixes and mashed potatoes
- Margarine and other processed fats (vegetable oils)
- Most frozen dinners
- Most take-out or restaurant leftovers
- Bowls of candy or other snacks sitting around
- Flavored and sugar coated nuts (e.g. beer nuts)
These are foods that seem healthy but aren’t. They’ve gone from something good (whole, unprocessed food) to something that was created in a lab, something that’s full of sugar and chemicals, and/or something that’s had all its original nutrients stripped out. If it has a label, it’s already got a red flag because that means it was processed. And if the label is full of ingredients that you don’t understand or know what they are……..throw it out.
- Sweetened yogurt and frozen yogurt
- Breads and bagels, unless they’re made exclusively with whole grains
- Other baked goods
- Breakfast cereals
- Crackers (even the whole grain ones)
- Fruit, cereal, and/or granola bars
- Regular peanut butter
- Fruit juice (all kinds)
- A good rule here is to check the labels. Look for forms of sugar such as high fructose corn syrup as well as hydrogenated oil, fractioned oil, and preservatives.
If a product loudly proclaims its health benefits on its label… it’s probably not that good for you. “Organic” sugar is still sugar and fruit rollups don’t really have fruit in them. Lots of processed grain and sugar snacks such as cereals, snack bars, and even marshmallows will claim “low fat” to give appearance of being a healthy choice, but they are not.
While trick foods usually will give you a false perception of their nutritional value, Sneaky foods can be tougher because we almost put no thought into them at all. When is the last time you thought about bbq sauce or dressings as the item of focus in your nutrition? You probably haven’t, but these foods fly under the radar in small amounts. The repeated exposure to the “hidden ingredients” is enough to halt progress on a nutrition program and even move in the opposite direction leading to unwanted body fat and other health related issues.
- Condiments such as BBQ sauce and other sweetened sauces
- Sweetened relishes, mustards, and ketchup
- Salad dressings
- Bread crumbs, croutons, and other dried bread products
- Processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats
- Spreads such as Cheez Whiz or sweetened cream cheeses
Still unsure about a few things?
We get it, it’s hard letting go of some of these things. Save it for a rainy day, right? Wrong! Remember your biggest weakness against bad food choices is convenience, protect yourself and make it a little bit harder to make those choices. “I want some ice cream, but I don’t want to go to the store and buy a whole tub. Ill just have a apple instead”. Here’s a few last qustions to ask your self when your in doubt.
- Does this food come in a bag, box, or plastic package?
- Does it have more than a couple of ingredients on the label?
- Can you pronounce all of those ingredients?
- How far away is this food from what it used to be? (And do you even know what it used to be?)
- Is this food perishable? Just about anything good for you goes bad quickly.
Of course there will be some exceptions along the way, but why test your will power with these things around? Just get them out of your house and start developing a taste for real food!
Here is the vast array of “edible food-like substances” to which one of our clients said farewell.
(enter pic of kitchen clean out)
Help! My kitchen’s empty now!
Now your fridge and pantry might look bare after getting rid of the unhealthy foods. It’s time to fill them back up with healthy replacements.
Remember! We just took out all these junk foods, don’t replace them with just more junk…….now that would be a waste. A waste of food, time, and honestly…….your training program.
How to restock
Here’s how to quickly restock some with nutritious foods (remember not to “over-think” it):
Pick your 3 favorite:
Vegetables, Fruits, Lean proteins, Nuts/seeds, Whole grains.
Write them down. We don’t care if they’re frozen or fresh. Just have them on hand so you can actually eat them.
Now there may be some foods that fall outside these guidelines, but use your judgment. If you get a feeling that it might not be the best choice for your goals….your probably right. We’re not saying you should never eat “Food X” again (that decision is up to you), but you may not want to keep the bulk/wholesale 1 year supply stored on top of the fridge.
(enter top of the fridge candy pics)
Don’t forget about those labels! “no added sugar”, “fat-free”, “whole-grain”, “organic”, and so on. They may be true and sound healthy, but think about what the food actually is and ask yourself if it fits into your guidelines or helps reach our goals. Shop for real foods!
Here is a sample way to create a grocery list for the week.
|Food:||Option 1 grocery list||Option 2 grocery list|
|Fruits||Orange, apple, cherries||Pears, peach, strawberries|
|Lean protein||Chicken, ground beef, eggs||Pinto beans, pork, ground turkey|
|Macadamia, almond, chia seed|
|Whole grains||Quinoa flakes
But what about the rest of my family/household?
Guess what? Don’t you want everyone in your life to live a long healthy life free from health related disease? We want to give you and everyone a fighting chance! This is not a “special diet” this is a exclusion of unhealthy things in our diet. Yes – the rest of the family (kids and spouse) can eat these foods too. Why would you feed your family something you wouldn’t eat yourself?
Remember, those are just examples. There are countless amounts of food combinations. You could prep differently every day and go far into your old age before exhausting food combos and options.
Now that you have your list, head over to the grocery store. We’ve got things started but it doesn’t stop once you throw all this stuff in the fridge and cupboard. We have to actually eat it, and to do that we need to prepare it. Best way is to set ourselves up for success by having food prepped. We need to cut up those veggies, split up those proteins, and plan out some meals.
In other words, have the food ready to eat so we don’t end up at the whata burger after workout again because all your meat is frozen and the last thing you wat to do right now is chop up asparagus.
(enter prepped tuppaware fridge pic)
Having the ingredients to prepare healthy meals is a must but we also have to have the tools in which we prepare them. If your limited to a microwave and plastic untinsils we might have a few problems in our implementation. Here’s a list of things you may need in the future to start making these meals. If your missing a few don’t run out and buy them all at once, but just as you need them.
Basic kitchen checklist
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Cookware set
- Stainless steel tools and silicon spatula
- Indoor grill
- Rice cooker/steamer
- Food processor
- Tea kettle
- Cutting board
- Large bowls
- Wooden spoons
- Vegetable peeler
- Baking sheets
- Casserole dishes
Summary and recommendations
Healthy eaters have healthy homes. Healthy people ensure that their environment supports their goals. Changing your surroundings is one of the best ways to start your journey to living better.
- Part ways with non-nutritious foods and eliminate anything in your house that doesn’t support your goals.
- Re-stock with healthy options.
- Use a list for your next grocery store visit. Use our suggestions as a guide.
- Also, make sure you have basic kitchen gear to prepare and store your bounty of healthy food.
Follow these steps and you’ll have your kitchen made over in less than 24 hours.