As we enter the month, let the windows fly open and break out the deep cleaning supplies – spring cleaning is here! While you’re in the heat of it, cleaning curtains and blinds and shampooing carpets and upholstery, don’t forget to clean out the all too often overlooked pantry. Over the months – particularly in the more depressing and holiday-infused winter months – junk food has a tendency to creep into our homes. But even beyond the obvious offenders, there are likely a few hidden sugar spots lurking – clean them out of your home and set your families on the path to healthier snacking and eating habits.
#1 – Sugar. Period.
It all started back in October with Halloween. Then Christmas came and so did the cookies and candies. Then Valentine’s Day… you get the idea. By now, your pantry likely has the leavens of all of it. Take this opportunity to kick it to the curb. Can’t bear to throw it away? Consider goodie bags for your next party or bringing it for after the next soccer game.
#2 – Sports Drinks.
Yes, that Gatorade has electrolytes. But it’s also loaded in sugar and manufactured ingredients. Take a close look at the labels on the back of those bottles and consider donating or tossing anything that contains more than five ingredients.
#3 – Expired Anything.
Do a deep clean of your pantry – including non-perishables and canned goods – and get rid of anything past the expiration date. Even non-perishables go bad after a year or two…
#4 – Opened and Abandoned.
Open boxes of pasta, bags of chips, unopened pretzels… you get the idea. These things aren’t great for you to begin with, but they also have a tendency to get opened and then buried and forgotten about. Do a full pantry clean-out, taking everything out, cleaning those shelves, and then tossing anything that you don’t remember having opened within the past two weeks.
#5 – Good Intentions.
Maybe it was health bars. Or no sugar granola. Dehydrated fruit. Whatever the case, we all have things that we bought when ringing in the new year to keep our waistlines down (and likely increase our spending in the process). Consider strongly whether you’ll actually use them, and if not, get rid of them. Are your kids ever really going to eat those health bars? Be honest… or find them next spring when you sort them into categories #3 or #4.