Spring clean your pantry in six steps!

Give your shelves a makeover with these handy hints

August 28 2018

Spring is here and it's a great time to give your pantry a much-needed healthy makeover. The team at Diabetes NSW & ACT share their top tips to clean out your pantry and give yourself a fresh start:

1 Get rid of junk
Farewell your creature comforts, it’s time to make way for fresh spring produce. What do you have that is high in added fat, salt and sugar? Clear them from your stores to make way for healthier items. It is all too easy for us to stock up on heavily processed foods, such as packets of chips, lollies and chocolates, frozen pastries (pies, sausage rolls, pizza), sugar sweetened drinks (soft drinks, sports drinks, cordials) and high sugar cereals. Removing these items from your pantry will remove any temptation down the track.

2 Start sorting! 
Consider what you use, and how often. Now decide whether to keep, donate or throw away any items you haven’t used in the past six months (and we’re not just talking expired goods, although now is a great time to get rid of them too).
Local food banks are great place to donate unwanted, unopened (but still in date) canned goods, as well as items with a long shelf life.

3 Get scrubbing!
Now that you’ve made way for fresh, wholesome produce, it’s time to make your pantry sparkle. Wipe down the shelves and walls to remove any dirt, dust and crumbs. A quick vacuum is an easy way to remove dirt, especially in tight corners. Need a good cleaning solution? Bicarbonate of soda and water (with a hint of lemon) can work wonders.

4 Organise and reorganise
Group like foods together, similar to how a grocery store is arranged. For example, canned goods on one shelf, spices and sauces together, baking goods on another. If it helps, invest in clear containers so you can easily see what’s inside (and how much of that product you have left). Good visibility will make things much easier to find, and prevent you from doubling up on ingredients during your next shop. Find a system that works for you. You may want to group by size, too - tall items at the back, and shorter, smaller items towards the front. This ensures nothing is pushed back where you can’t see them!

5 Stock up on healthy foods
Pave the way for healthy eating habits by replacing processed, nutrient-empty foods with healthy basics such as: canned beans, whole wheat pasta, steel cut oats, nuts and seeds, canned tuna and salmon (in spring water not brine), eggs and frozen veggies.
Having a well-stocked pantry and freezer is great for last minute meal preparation. But if you can, head down to your local grocery store regularly and indulge in fresh produce. Baked veggies and stir fries make for a quick and easy meal.

6 Add some greenery
Spring is the season of new beginnings. So why not try planting a small herb garden in a windowsill pot? Herbs are a fantastic way to add flavour to your food without reaching for salty or sugary sauces. If you have a garden, spending a little time gardening is also a great way to clear your mind while adding some extra exercise into your daily routine. As a bonus, spending time outside can give yourself that much needed vitamin D boost (for your body and mind). If you are living with diabetes, vitamin D is also believed to help improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

Diabetes NSW & ACT is Australia’s largest member based charity dedicated to helping those living with or at risk of diabetes. For more information visit diabetesnsw.com.au