You may have heard the saying, “Temptation often comes in through a door that has been deliberately left open.” Before the holiday season begins, take time to purge all of those terribly-tempting-but-not-too-nutritious foods from your fridge — because if you don’t, the fridge door tends to always be open. If you set yourself on a healthy course now, you won’t feel as guilty for indulging in December.
12 Step Refrigerator Overhaul:
YOUR REFRIGERATOR — BEFORE
Throw out or quickly use up and vow not to re-stock (at least before Christmas):
1) Low quality protein: conventional hot dogs, pepperoni and bologna that have lots of fat, salt, nitrates and other body-depleting (and therefore body fat-encouraging) chemicals, but very few nutrients. This includes pre-prepared, fat-laden, salt-heavy entrees such as frozen chicken wings, chicken strips, spring rolls and battered fish sticks.
2) Drinks: All pop, and fruit beverages that aren’t 100% pure juice
3) Dairy: High fat cheese, cream salad dressings, sour cream, cream cheese, ice cream
4) Grains: White bread or white flour baked goods (including those labeled “enriched wheat flour” or “unbleached wheat flour” that refer to highly processed white flour)
5) Take-out foods: left-over pizza, Chinese food, Thai noodles…
6) Failing-grade fats: Peanut butter with added sugar and oil (check the label), highly processed margarine
YOUR REFRIGERATOR – AFTER
Be relentless and make the switch! Replace those items with:
1) High quality protein: lean poultry, organic, free range eggs (they’re worth the extra cost), lean meats, fresh or frozen raw fish to bake, grill or lightly pan-fry
2) Drinks: noncarbonated and carbonated spring water, and pure juices with no added sugar — used sparingly, adding just a splash to carbonated water
3) Dairy and alternatives: vinaigrette and virgin olive oil dressings, low fat organic cheese (5%-20% fat only), skim milk or cow’s milk substitute such as goat, rice, almond, or coconut milk. Choose varieties labeled “unsweetened.”
4) Grains: 100% whole grain rye, spelt or wheat breads (which need to be refrigerated because they still have their nutritious, but quickly spoiling, germ and bran intact)
5) Fresh fruits and vegetables, including those you have never tried before, to eat raw and steamed/stir-fried
6) Fine-grade fats: Natural almond, hazelnut, pumpkin seed or sesame butter (tahini), preferably raw rather than roasted to preserve the fats, and without hydrogenated oil or sugar. Keep good ol’ butter, but use sparingly (1/2 teaspoon per slice of toast) as a condiment, or buy a high-quality, unprocessed butter/margarine replacement from a health food store. Stock up on ground flaxseeds to sprinkle on cereal, and avocado to add healthy creaminess to salad.