Healthy kitchen, healthy body

Kellie Collins

Have you ever decided that today is the day that you’re going to start eating more healthily? No more chocolate for you, no biscuits, crisps or cake? Once you’ve finished the stash in your cupboards, that is!

If you’re thinking about adopting healthier eating habits, this is the perfect opportunity to do a spring clean of your kitchen cupboards.

First of all, throw out anything that is out of date, looks a funny colour, is growing legs or sprouting peculiar bumps. We’re all guilty of harbouring the odd packet of soup that’s about 10 years old, and runaway spuds can often be found lurking at the bottom of the cupboard about to sprout a major crop! Don’t forget about the fridge too – get rid of mouldy cheese, out of date yoghurts, limp lettuce leaves and half jars of pasta sauce that have been there since the year dot.

As well as being a breeding ground for bacteria, out of date foods can be much less nutritious than their fresh counterparts.

Now stand back and take a good look at what’s left. If there’s enough to whip up a fairly healthy meal for the family, as well as some breakfasts and snacks for the week, you’re doing quite well. However, if all you’re left with is a tin of beans, some crisps that were on special offer, and a few tomatoes that have seen better days, then it’s time to take stock and make a new shopping list.

It’s easy to eat healthily but the trick is to be prepared and have the right ingredients at your fingertips. Shop wisely and you’ll never be caught short again. Junk food alternatives definitely don’t have to be boring, and with the right mix of foods in your kitchen you’ll be well on the road to a healthier diet. Here are a few tips to help you along:

Larder Logic

A well-stocked store cupboard is essential, especially for emergencies, healthy snacks, and also for those little extras that can make a humble meal more special. Try to have a good supply of the following:

• Herbs and spices – add during cooking instead of salt for extra flavour
• Tins of low fat soup
• Baked beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas – any peas or beans are perfect for bulking out soups, stews and chillis
• Ryvita and rice cakes
• Sugar free jelly – for a special sweet treat
• Pasta and brown rice
• Popcorn – low in fat and quick to microwave
• Wholegrain breakfast cereals such as Special K, Shredded Wheat and Porridge
• Dried fruit and sunflower seeds – perfect for snacking on
• Tinned tomatoes, tuna and salmon

Fresh Fancy

Shop at street markets for cheaper fresh fruit and veg. Always have a good variety on hand and buy seasonal veg as they will be cheaper.

• Potatoes
• Garlic and onions
• All types of fruit and veg
• Skinless chicken or turkey fillets (perfect for freezing too)
• Lean minced beef and other lean cuts of meat
• Ready-prepared salads
• Fresh orange juice – or squeeze your own!
• Slices of ham and turkey for healthy sandwiches

Frozen Fare

A few key items in your freezer will go a long way:

• Bags of frozen mixed veg
• Frozen yoghurt or sorbet
• Frozen mixed berries
• Ready meals with less than 400 calories and 4 grams of fat
• Reduced fat garlic bread – for special occasions!
• Pitta breads – defrost quickly for a healthy sandwich

Dairy Delights

Always choose low fat versions:

• Low fat margarine
• Semi-skimmed or skimmed milk
• Low fat cheese and light cream cheese
• Low fat yoghurt
• Crème fraiche or fromage frais instead of cream
• Low fat mayonnaise and salad dressings
• Eggs

There are lots of other little changes you can make to introduce healthier alternatives into your diet:

• Buy wholegrain or wholemeal bread
• Halve the amount of oil you use when cooking – you really don’t need that much!
• Avoid adding salt during cooking or at the table
• Stir fry or steam your veg for a change from boiling them
• Have baked potatoes once a week or make your own potato wedges
• Use mashed banana or low fat yoghurt to replace half the fat required in baking recipes

You should also try to be prepared for quick snacks on the run!

• Keep fresh, washed fruit handy at all times
• Chop up carrots and place them in little bags in the fridge
• Buy little portions of low fat cheese such as Edam and have with crackers
• Keep mini boxes of raisins and other dried fruits

And don’t forget, you can have the odd treat, but if you think you’re going to be tempted by chocolate, biscuits and crisps then just DON’T BUY THEM!

Start a diet plan at tescodiets.com

Thanks to tescodiets.com who have provided this article.