It may be time to raid the kitchen!
If your kitchen is stocked with the makings for healthy meals and snacks you’ll easily stay on track to lose weight, even when those late-night cravings strike. So what should you keep on hand and what should be banned? Use this self-guided kitchen raid to help you sort out the good from the fattening. Go ahead, grab a big box, print out the list below, and then head to the kitchen. When you’re done, take that box straight to the nearest food bank.
Your Refrigerator: Let’s start with the fridge, which is essentially the heart of your kitchen. If you find something in your fridge that is on the “Donate this” list, then you know what you have to do. Get that box ready.
- Donate this: Beverages with high fructose corn syrup or sugar. Drinking calories is one of the quickest ways to gain weight, so quickly rid your fridge of any beverage that lists HFCS or sugar on the ingredient list.
Replace with: Water. It is a well-known fact that most people are partially dehydrated, a condition that is harmful to your health and wreaks havoc on your weight loss efforts. Keep plenty of cold water on hand for proper hydration.
- Donate this: Fatty meats. It is important that you be selective about the meats that you eat. I may tell you that chicken is a great source of protein, but if you take that as a license to eat fried chicken everyday then the benefit of the protein will be lost in all the extra fat calories.
Replace with: Lean meats. Skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, white fish – there are numerous choices when it comes to lean meats.
- Donate this: Fruit-flavored yogurt. I hate to break this to you, but that cute individually packaged yogurt is going to do more harm to your waistline than you think. More than 50% of the calories in fruit-flavored yogurt come from sugar. Check out the ingredient list and you likely find both high fructose corn syrup AND sugar.
Replace with: Plain low-fat yogurt, Greek yogurt, or low-fat cottage cheese. If you love yogurt, then get the low-fat plain version. You can even chop up some fresh fruit and stir it in. Another option is to have a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese with chopped fruit on top.
Your Pantry: This may be the most painful part of your kitchen raid, since most junk food ends up here. So take a moment to give yourself a pep talk before grabbing that garbage bag and opening your pantry.
- Donate this: Sugar-filled cereal. If sugar or high fructose corn syrup are listed as ingredients on your cereal box, it’s got to go. Sugar-filled cereal is basically another form of junk food, and will only add inches to your waist.
Replace with: Whole Grain Oatmeal. There is a huge difference between instant, sugar-filled oatmeal and whole grain oatmeal.
- Donate this: Chips/Crackers. While refined chips and crackers are fun to munch on, the extra calories will quickly add up. Do yourself a favor by not allowing these into your pantry.
Replace with: Almonds. The key to making this snack a winner is to practice portion control. Place a handful of almonds into individual bags for pre-portioned snacks.
- Donate this: Packaged Sweets. I don’t really have to explain this one, do I? Cookies and cakes and candies shouldn’t be a regular part of your diet, so keep them out of your house. It’s one thing to enjoy a dessert once in a while, it is quite another to routinely eat processed sweets at home.
Replace with: Dried Fruit. When you want to munch on something sweet, turn to a bag of dried fruit. Make sure that you purchase dried fruit that does not contained added sugars.
Now march that box of off-limit foods to your nearest food bank and don’t look back. It’s a great idea to raid your kitchen every couple of months as a way of keeping yourself on track to lose weight. Open up dialogue with your family members about the healthy changes that you’re making, and get everyone in on it.