Give Your Pantry a Healthy Makeover
Spring Cleaning? Here's What to Toss and What to Buy
Here are a few other healthy choices I tend to have in my pantry, some for
snacking and others for preparing meals:
- Canned, fat-free refried beans.
- Canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce (lower-sodium
versions are best).
- Bottled marinara sauce (choose one made with canola or olive oil, and which
contains no more than about 1 gram of fat and 400 milligrams of sodium per
- Brown rice (it comes in regular or a quick version by Uncle Ben's).
- Quick or old-fashioned oats. You can buy packets of microwave oatmeal --
Quaker Nutrition for Women -- that have added soy protein, calcium, and folic
- Whole-grain breakfast cereals. These should have a whole grain listed as
the first ingredient, at least 4 grams of fiber per cup, and not too much fat
or sugar. Raisin Bran is one of my favorites, with 7 grams of fiber, 1.5 grams
fat, and 19 grams of sugar per cup (whole wheat is the first ingredient on the
label; wheat bran is the third. Raisins are the second ingredient listed, sugar
- 94% fat-free microwave popcorn.
- Canned soups with more fiber (5 grams or more per serving) and less fat and
sodium than most, such as Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom and
Chicken Soup, and Wolfgang Puck's Minestrone.
- Whole-wheat pastry flour. Substitute this for half the white flour in recipes to increase fiber and nutrients without a big
difference in flavor or texture.
- Splenda. This artificial sweetener can replace half of the sugar in most
bakery recipes, to cut calories without a noticeable difference in flavor or
- Salt-free seasoning blends (and individual herbs and spices). These are a
convenient way to add flavor fast when you're trying to cook without a lot of
added sodium. Check out all the Mrs. Dash flavors! And keep all your spices and
dried herbs in a cool, dry place to maintain freshness.
- An extra can of canola-oil cooking spray.
Step 3: Eliminate or greatly reduce saturated and trans
fats in your pantry.
Nothing good, healthwise, can come from eating trans fats. Some experts
advise that trans and saturated fats together should make up no more than 10%
of our total calories. Others say our trans fat intake should be as close to
zero as possible.