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Spring Cleaning for Your Pantry

Spring Cleaning for Your Pantry

Something about spring just makes you want to start fresh. While winter is about settling in, spring is about making a new start. While you’re busy clearing out piles of junk and cleaning neglected corners of your house, don’t forget to refresh your pantry and refrigerator too. If you’ve been eating a lot of pasta and other comfort foods during the cold winter months, it’s time to reset your pantry with fresh whole foods for spring.

 Here are 5 tips to make your pantry seasonal for spring:

  • Swap your pasta for versions made from chickpeas or black beans. They’re higher in protein and lower in carbs than regular pasta. Better yet, invest in a good spiralizer and make your own zoodles from fresh zucchini. But don’t stop there. You can spiralize all kinds of vegetables — try broccoli stems, carrots, or sweet potatoes. Or use thin slices of eggplant to make lasagna-style noodles. I absolutely love this Show Off Paleo Lasagna, which features thinly sliced parsnip, eggplant, and zucchini.
  • Try cauliflower rice instead of rice. You can grate a head yourself or buy it prepared in the produce section of the grocery store. Some recipes call for adding water to the cauliflower rice, but I find that makes it mushy. This recipe fries the “rice” in oil instead, so it has a consistency more like real rice.
  • Eat more fruit, drink less juice. Juice is a better choice than soda, because it contains vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, whereas soda is nutritionally bereft. But juice also concentrates the sugar in fruit while removing the fiber, and that can cause your blood sugar to spike. Whole fruit doesn’t have the same effect because the natural sugar it contains comes bundled with fiber, which slows its absorption.
  • Make your own salad dressing. I’m all for salads — it’s my go-to lunch -- but many of the salad dressings you buy in the supermarket have a surprising amount of sugar, or worse, high-fructose corn syrup. When you make your own salad dressing, you control exactly what goes into it. Chances are, when you’re whisking some olive oil, vinegar, and fresh herbs together, you won’t be dumping a bunch of sugar into it. For me, the key is to use high-quality fresh-pressed extra-virgin olive oil and an aged balsamic vinegar, which is naturally sweet.
  • Stock up on produce. If you’ve slipped out of the habit of filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, spring is a great time to get back into that routine. (Or start it, if you’ve never tried.) After all, there are few things as tempting as the first fresh, local strawberries of the year. Spring produce like asparagus, lettuce, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, spring onions, and watercress is in season now. Some of these fruits and vegetables are available year ‘round, but others you can only get in the spring. So visit your local farmers’ market and try something new. Have you ever had fiddlehead ferns, stinging nettles, pea shoots, or ramps? If not, now’s the time. They won’t be around long

 

How about some other trends for spring?

There’s no reason to limit spring cleaning to your home and pantry. This is also a great time to clean out your mental space and get ready for a new season.

 You may not have considered it, but one of the most cluttered places in the world is your mind! What’s it stuffed with? Thought patterns that don’t serve you. For example: worrying about the future, feeling guilt or regret about the past, stewing about how someone did you wrong, thinking about opportunities you’ve missed. Letting go of those feelings can be as liberating as hanging up your heavy winter coat in the closet.

How do you do that? One way is to get a pad of post-its and write down every unproductive thought that’s stuck on replay in your head. For example: What if something happens to my husband/wife/child? I wish I had done [x]. I wish I hadn’t done [x]. How could he/she have done that to me? What would my life be like if I had done [x]? Now get yourself to a fire, thank each post it, and let it burn. When those thoughts try to inch their way back into your mind, simply tell them “I’m done thinking you” and change your focus to something you’re grateful for.

 

What new habits are you trying out this spring? 

 
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