New Year Pantry Makeover

 
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Did you resolve to lose weight and get healthy this year?

If you want to lose weight for good, the best place to start is inside your food cupboard. A few permanent changes in what you stock can help you shed kilos without dieting.

Change Your Mind-set

An excellent way to improve your wellness is to replace most refined and canned foods with whole foods—both fresh (for the fridge) or dried (in your pantry)—and begin cooking more from scratch.

Snack foods should be a key consideration. They are becoming a diet staple in many countries. In the United States, people are now eating and snacking six to nine times per day! Market research by Mintel shows that consumers can spend more money on snacks than on fruits and vegetables.

Four Easy Cupboard Swaps

When it comes to “extra” foods, your cupboard should offer you quick, convenient, tasty and healthy choices.

  • Chips and other snacks: Commercial brands supply rapidly digested carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, making it far too easy for you to gain weight and keep it on. Instead, stock snack foods like soy nuts, chick peas, tree nuts (such as walnuts and almonds), trail mixes and homemade kale chips.
  • Soft drinks: The regular use of sugary drinks will fuel weight gain. Replace these with plain mineral or sparkling water. Simply drop in a splash of cranberry, lime, lemon or other juices to add flavour.
  • Biscuits: Most commercial varieties hide saturated and trans fats and salt. But it’s easy to make your own with simple whole-food ingredients. 
  • Confections: When you feel like a sweet hit, why not enjoy something that also provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients to fight obesity? Keep a stash of dried fruits, such as pears, apricots or figs in your cupboard. Or make miniballs from ground nuts and dried fruits and freeze them. They come out nice and chewy! A square of dark chocolate once a day is also acceptable.

Remember, what you keep in your pantry will not only influence your weight and health goals but the future eating habits of your children as well.

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Sue Radd is one of Australia's leading nutritionists and health communicators. She also advises law firms, providing expert nutrition reports for use in court cases.