A big key to eating healthy is having a pantry packed with healthy choices. Often times things sit in our pantries way to long and we forget what is there. Take some time this summer to look through what’s been lingering and how your items stack up for your health. There are many very easy changes you can make to the typical pantry staples to improve your nutrition. Here are five great ones to start with:
- You’ve heard everyone everywhere preach the importance of whole grains. The question is how well are you doing on this. If you already made the switch from refined pasta noodles and white rice to whole grain noodles and brown rice you’ve made great progress but it’s time to get creative. Try quinoa in place of white rice in dishes. Quinoa is cooked the same as rice and has the same texture plus it has 2 more grams of fiber and double the protein in every ½ cup
- Next, exchange your Italian bread crumbs for Japanese Panko breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are coarser, lighter and most would agree they coat your food better. They contain less calories and tend to absorb less oil when cooking.
- If you’re craving a salty add in to salads, pizza or pasta try artichoke hearts instead of reaching for green olives. Not only will you cut out fat (five green olives contain 2 grams of fat where 2 artichoke hearts would give zero grams of fat) you will also consumer more antioxidants.
- Another easy switch is to choose chunk light tuna packets over canned albacore tuna to cut down on the mercury you are consuming. They both have great nutrients and protein but chunk light tuna may contain up to 1/3 less mercury. For guidelines on how much tuna is safe to eat visit the NRDC or see my post on mercury in fish.
- Lastly, look at the soups you store in your pantry. Most people have cream of mushroom soup on hand for casseroles. Trade in Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup for Campbell’s Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom soup. This line of soups is certified by the American Heart Association and will cut out 5 grams of fat and your sodium intake in half for each ½ cup serving (870 mg sodium vs 410 mg sodium).