When I think of holistic and mindful eating, I think of clean, unprocessed, natural foods. Items as close to their original form as possible. Less meat, more beans and whole grains, less junk and snack foods. This month I challenged myself to clean out my pantry and fill it with natural goodies!
I took a couple before and after shots of my pantry project. Please don’t judge me by my organizational skills (and the STUFZ burger stuffer. that’s not mine…). As you can see on the left, the top shelves of my pantry was very disorganized. I had been buying bulk quinoa, brown rice, millet, beans/legumes etc and just keeping them in their huge plastic bags. It was impossible to tell what items I had and how much without doing some major digging. There were also a lot of expired and stale products lurking behind those huge plastic bags.
I thought about going to The Container Store and buying expensive mason jars to store my bulk items in and pretty labels but it was going to cost too much. Instead, I went to Wal-mart and bought these Tupperware containers (BPA free!) for less than $2 for a set of four. In all, I probably spent $25 for 20 containers with lids, dry-erase sticky labels (awesome) and dry-erase markers.
Before and after!
I love how I can push all of my bulk products to the back and I can clearly read what I have, and see how much I have. Getting rid of all the plastic bags means I can actually see what else I keep in my pantry.
I did the same thing for the bottom shelf of my pantry– where I keep all of my baking goods. My various types of flours, sugars, corn meals etc were just floating around in their original bags, occasionally leaking and getting dust everywhere. I could never keep track of how many bags of powdered sugar I had. When I cleaned out my pantry I ended up consolidating about three bags of powdered sugar into one big tub.
My 18-year-old little brother was over the other day, and he looked into my pantry to find a snack. “You have an old person’s pantry”, he remarked. Apparently stocking my pantry full of quinoa and nuts and not keeping easy mac and cheetos on hand makes me an old person. Fine, I’ll be a HEALTHY old person :)
P.S. Yes, that is a bag of Jolly Ranchers. And chocolate wafers. Girls gotta have her sweets! It’s all about balance, people.
If you’re on your own whole foods journey, here are some tips:
- Keep your pantry organized and clean. When you have a dirty, unorganized pantry, it is hard to know what you do and don’t have on hand. You end up wasting a lot of food because it goes bad before you realize you have it.
- Invest (a small amount) into a good food storage system. You don’t need fancy mason jars or expensive tupperware— the cheap brand at Wal-Mart or Target will work. You’re just storing dry goods. Stock up on as many as you can, and pick up some dry-erase labels as well.
- Dry erase labels are awesome– this makes your organization system customizable and easily changeable when you want to try out new bulk items.
Items to stock up on:
- Beans: black, white, kidney, chickpeas, etc. Dried beans are so cheap and versatile.
- Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, couscous, whole wheat pastas, popcorn, millet.
- Lentils: red, brown, yellow
- Nuts & Seeds: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, roasted and/or raw unsalted (for cooking)
- Split peas: green, yellow
- Flours: all purpose, whole wheat, pastry
- Sugars: granulated, brown, stevia
When your pantry is organized and stocked full of natural products, you are much more likely to use them more often. Since I’ve organized mine, I’ve already made homemade popcorn twice, brown rice several times, and I definitely use my giant jar of quinoa multiple times per week.
Organization = simplifying = stress reduction = healthy choices = mindful eating
Do you have any pantry organization tips? What helps you stay organized and eat mindfully?