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    Spring Into Better Health: The Pantry Edition

food pantry filled with cans and bags of food
With spring often comes spring cleaning. You may have a chance to clean your house inside and out. However, what about your pantry? How often do you clean your pantry? If you’re trying to lose weight or adopt a healthy lifestyle, consider these questions.

“There are many reasons to consider cleaning out your pantry,” says Amanda Leisenheimer, who is a registered dietitian with Mayo Clinic Health System. “You might have set a New Year’s resolution to start eating healthier, but still have old temptations waiting for you on the shelf. Removing those temptations from your grasp will help you stay on track with your goals.”

Throw away old unhealthy enticements and replace with new, healthy options, such as:

  • Low-sodium pretzels
  • Hummus
  • Light popcorn
  • Baked chips
  • Low-sodium nuts, such as peanuts, almonds or walnuts
  • Canned salmon tuna
  • Canned smoked herring
  • Whole-wheat crackers
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Quinoa
  • Low-sodium beans
  • Kosher salt
  • Low-sodium chicken or beef broth

“Keep in mind herbs and spices can expire and can lose their potency, causing your favorite recipes to have different tastes,” adds Leisenheimer. “Spices and herbs can also be expensive, but you can grow them yourself ─ even if you do not have a large space to do it.”

Leisenheimer instructs that you can plant herbs and spices in small boxes indoors near windows or outside on a patio. You can create a small box or leftover pots with soil, and use that to plant the herbs without worrying about weeds taking over. Any vessel will work, so Leisenheimer encourages green thumbs to get creative and use what works best.

“You can use fresh herbs and spices to make any dish more delightful,” says Leisenheimer. “You can also dehydrate the herbs and spices for use in the winter months. The aroma of fresh basil, oregano or chives growing near where you’re cooking will help inspire creative new recipes, as well.”

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