Have you been looking for different results when it comes to your goals? Have you thought of the new year, new you, new pantry approach? I have been on a healthier eating journey since 2007, which I swear has been a couple years only. It doesn’t seem possible that I am starting year 14 of taking better care of my body.
Since I have been at this so long, I sometimes feel a little disconnected when people say things to me. I have long said that drive thru never registers as an option to me, but there are new and different alternatives for tempting bad food choices. For one, Uber Eats and Door Dash, they are not even on my radar but present as an easy way to have unhealthy food delivered to your house (I understand it isn’t only unhealthy). Full disclosure, I have a friend in another state who was quarantined due to Covid. I signed up for Door Dash to send her some coffee one day. I don’t even have the app on my phone, I did it all through the computer, yet I can’t say I have never used them.
Many of you know that we get a lot of our pantry staples delivered. We used Amazon Prime for a lot of things, but the environmental friendly person in me is looking to change my ways. We still use them for the kids baby food pouches. Yes, I know, they are one of the worst things to buy when it comes to environmentally friendly. I did stop buying the protein shakes for the kids because they came with straws, trying to balance things out and not focus on perfection. We are using Thrive Market more for our staples. They offer some things higher priced than at the store, but the bread Grace likes is over a $1 less per loaf and the milk substitute I buy is a little cheaper and always in stock. My interest in environmental friendlier is met with their recyclable/recycled packaging. Again, I know that isn’t perfect, no waste is best, but I’m just looking to be better, not best.
Beck, you titled this about new pantry, what about the pantry? Sorry, I get side tracked and excited sometimes. One of the things I first changed 14 years ago was what I keep in my pantry. You won’t find an abundance of chips and crackers, canned soups, pasta noodles, or candy. If you stock up on sale or Costco size bags of chips, you are going to find yourself mindlessly grabbing for them. You get bored, decide you are hungry, and grab something to munch on. If you need some tips on containers and shelving, I really like these simple steps.
We have the closet door style pantry. On our shelves, you will find our GIANT instant pot/air fryer, since it doesn’t fit anywhere else. With all the cooking we do, it is best for us to put it on the counter only when we are using it. In our pantry we also have our spiralizer, which gets pulled out when needed. We have an amazing ninja coffee bar, and it even makes a full carafe of coffee, but we still haven’t gotten rid of the Mr Coffee coffee pot that we pull out for parties. Next to the coffee pot on the top shelf is a giant bowl, with contact solution, food dye, and other random kid project items.
Our pantry organizer system has drawers, and one drawer has light bulbs, some random paper plates, and napkins left from our switch to cloth. The other drawer gets filled with duplicates of Thrive items. I know if I put two bags of “pretzels” in the kids cabinet, they will eat them all. If I keep one in the drawer, they don’t look for it and eat the one bag slower.
One shelf has dog treats, nutpod creamer, baby food pouch boxes, surplus bread loaves, and excess protein powders and pb2. The dog treats just live there. Opened creamer goes into the fridge. The excess stuff all have cabinets that the 1 item currently in use belongs. You may be realizing that I keep pantry items in cabinets. I’d like to explain a bit of that situation, since it helps give a full picture.
We have one shelf in a double cabinet that has all our shake stuff. Mike and the kids have a vanilla and a chocolate protein container from Garden of Life, as well as a jar of PB 2. Mike has a pre workout container (no I don’t believe that anyone should use them, not my cup of tea, but I can’t force my ideology on even my own husband) and Nuun capsule things. I have my Arbonne shake supplies, which include coffee protein, vanilla protein, fiber, and greens.
The kids have a double cabinet where all their lunch making supplies like reusable bags and bento type boxes live on the bottom. and a pullout shelf where their non refrigerated lunch and breakfast foods live. They do need to have a protein and a veggie in their lunch. Between short lunches with talkative kids and no access to heat up their food at school, I am quite lenient in what constitutes a veggie. Protein is typically a lunch meat, beef stick, or protein shake (as mentioned, I have stopped purchasing those though). Veggies are dried sugar snap peas, pretzels made from cauliflower, and the baby food pouches. They sometimes make their own lunchables, so we will have some kind of rice or cheese cracker. Those are not weekly buys though.
The rest of our pantry type goods live on two shelves of our corner cabinet. In being in the corner, it is slightly larger, and I’m trying to be transparent here about that. The one shelf has all of our baking and cook from scratch type needs. When you are gluten free, there tends to be more. We have almond flour, flax meal, coconut flour, potato starch, arrowroot powder, and nutritional yeast for starters. The various nuts for cooking, like pine and almond also live on this shelf. The lower of these two shelves is where our weekly shopping of dry goods goes. Sometimes, we buy canned tomatoes or tomato paste for a recipe. We often have basmati white rice in the house, and it lives on this shelf. If we need a cous cous or wild rice for a particular recipe, this is where you will find it. The kids like the beanza brand pasta noodles for homemade baked mac and cheese, or chicken noodle soup. We use brown rice pasta on occasion, or traditional rice noodles in ramen. With Tyler home, there is a bag of sun chips in there, but I don’t care for them and there is no temptation to dig into the bag.
Accessibility is key here. The kids are short, so their cabinet is the lowest one. I am less inclined to bend over to dig through their food. In the pantry itself, the drawer with the food is again low. The instant pot is eye level, when you open the door. I find that if you put junk in your house at all, you are inviting failure. Find steps to make it more inconvenient to snack, even on healthy-ish items.
Modeling good habits
It is also important to remember, if you have kids in your house, you are modeling behavior to them. It isn’t the greatest idea to always be on a diet. I remember as a kid my mom always having her diet shakes, Slimfast, in the fridge. Try to create a healthy culture in your home, instead of one of restriction. If it isn’t good for you to eat double stuffed oreos, why let your kids binge on them? If you are trying to eat 3, 4, or 6 meals a day, why do your kids have the right to graze out of the pantry all day? Instilling in them at an early age, or even young adult age, what healthy looks like is a life lesson that can put them ahead of where you are today.
It is nearly impossible to just change what we eat. We need to change our habits. Moving your plates and cups in your cabinets may be the change you need to switch up your frame of mind. What will you do in your pantry to switch up and encourage healthy choices? If you have food that you should get out of your house, you can donate them to a local food pantry. If you are at a place where financially you are dependent on canned goods that may be less healthy, give yourself grace. Find a way to focus on portion control. Weight watchers didn’t get popular and make a ton of money because their people were eating healthy. WW 2020 is a different story, as their focus is on quality these days, but that’s not my point. Drop a comment with what change you are going to make.