When it comes to spring cleaning, the kitchen is often the most overlooked room in a house or apartment. But as the nutrition center of your home, having an organized cupboard full of nutritious, high-quality food items can significantly improve your health and overall well-being. After tackling your closet and junk drawers, experience the benefits of a total pantry overhaul, the key to eating a healthy, balanced diet. It also saves you time when putting together easy weekday meals or baking your favorite treats.
Here are some simple and straightforward tricks and tips for making the most of your kitchen cupboards:
Throw out junk food and expired items
While this tip seems self-explanatory, there is a method to the madness, and it starts with going through every single item in your pantry. Yes, it can be time-consuming, but when your cupboard is organized, you can get the most out of everything you buy at the store. According to the Active blog, Americans throw out 40% of their food; that’s a lot of wasted groceries and potential meals. To avoid these wasteful habits, make extra room in your pantry by removing unhealthy snacks and expired products. Now you’ll be able to find other items in your pantry that were hidden or out of view. Try incorporating these forgotten ingredients into your everyday meals, which will reduce your amount of overall waste.
Going through everything in your pantry might seem tedious, but it also allows you to take inventory of what you need to make your pantry complete for the season. Tossing out junk food can be hard, especially if you’re feeling weak and crave the comfort of your favorite snacks. For a reasonable compromise, we recommend keeping around a few delicious snacks like Ne-Mo’s cake slices, which can be enjoyed as a special treat after eating a nutritious and satisfying dinner.
Make your pantry sparkling clean
After taking every item out of the pantry, take this opportunity to clean and scrub the shelves. Because these are food items, make sure to avoid using harsh commercial cleansers. Instead, you can cleanse and disinfect with natural, homemade cleaners, which work just as well. One trick is to fill a bucket with one cup of white vinegar and warm water, which helps to dissolve dirt and grime. It also works as a natural deodorant deodorizer by absorbing bad smells. The strong vinegar odor will also disappear once it dries. For scrubbing action, take a lemon and slice it in half. Then sprinkle with baking soda and use it as a natural scrubber. Baking soda also has natural deodorizing properties and a mildly abrasive texture that helps lift stubborn stains and dirt.
Restock Your Pantry with Healthy Products
Now that your cupboard is cleared out, it’s time to reorganize your food supply with healthy and nutrient-dense options. This will keep you from indulging in junk food when you get a snack attack. The most sensible pantry items are any varieties of organic, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and other common baking ingredients such as leavening agents, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.
Create a weekly recipe plan
Take your kitchen organization to the next level when you come up with weekly recipes to keep in your meal rotation. This will allow you to make a complete checklist of non-perishable grocery items that need to be purchased on your next shopping trip. Melissa d’Arabian from the Food Network saves time and money by listing an inventory of ingredients from each category: “Start with the proteins, and make a list of some common dishes that you make for your family that feature those proteins and other ingredients…you should now have a pretty decent list of meal ideas that use what is in your pantry.”
Store pantry goods in glass airtight containers
Mason jars work perfectly for storing all types of dried goods. The airtight lids keep out moisture, which extends the shelf life of all your products. The clear glass also has a retro charm that clearly reveals the contents inside. We suggest labeling each container to be on the safe side, especially since some grains can be difficult to identify.
To keep things easy and streamlined, organize similar products together in one spot. This tip might seem extremely obvious, but it still needs to be mentioned. Also, keep the oldest items in the front, so that you can access them easier and not let anything go to waste.
After organizing your pantry, reward yourself with a selection of Ne-Mo’s treats, which ranges from their signature carrot cake to chocolate cake breads and much more.