Spring Clean Your Pantry

As warmer days approach and we shake off the cobwebs of winter, one room in your house is usually begging for a little TLC—your kitchen.

Spring is the ideal time to give your kitchen, the nourishment center of your home, a solid once over. Beginning with your fridge and pantry.

More: 4 Challenges to Help You Celebrate National Nutrition Month

A clean and well-organized fridge and pantry is a vastly important element to a healthful and economic life. It helps to:

  • Replace processed, high-calorie and nutrient-empty foods with fresh, nutritious whole foods
  • Pave the way for a change in eating habits, a cleanse or a weight-loss nutrition plan
  • Cut down on waste by consuming the foods that you've purchased
  • Eliminate double buying—the purchase foods you forgot you already have because they've been pushed to the back of the fridge or pantry, where you can't see them

Plus, you'll have more time to spend outdoors this spring, if you first spend a bit of time indoors to ensure your kitchen is clean, organized, efficient, and stocked with healthy, delicious foods.

More: 6 Tips to Healthy Eating at Work

Step 1: Toss the Junk Food

Whether your goal is to lose weight, build your energy, enhance your race-season performance, or simply change bad eating habits to good—the first step in your fridge-and-pantry overhaul is to toss all your junk food. Clearing the shelves of such foods not only takes temptation out of reach, it also creates space for healthy, wholesome foods, instead.

You know which junk foods need to go: cookies, candy, ice cream, chips and cheese puffs, for starters. Not that you can't indulge in your favorite snack or dessert once in a while, but limit that to an occasional pastry at your morning coffee stop or a small bag of chips with your sandwich at lunch. But avoid stockpiling such foods in your kitchen. Out of sight, out of mind?out of mouth.

While you're at it, consider tossing some of your highly-processed packaged foods, like boxed mac 'n cheese, raman and items loaded with sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial color and flavorings.

More: Learn Why You Should Avoid Processed Foods and 7 Tips for Doing So

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