You’ve started a nutrition program and are settling into a new routine. Currently, you’re enjoying what I call a “honeymoon phase”. You’re happy, driven…maybe even a little surprised at how easy this all is, right?
Unfortunately, the honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever.
Soon enough, you’ll hit temptation, cravings, inconveniences, and more. Make things easier for yourself and conduct a good old kitchen raid!
What is a kitchen raid? Let me explain…
You need to set up your kitchen so that it’s always stocked with healthy meals and snacks. This way, you’ll stay on track even when those late-night-after-work-chips-cravings hit you.
So what should you keep on hand and what should be banned from the kitchen?
Step 1: Start NOW
Print the list below, grab a large box, and head to the kitchen to start purging! And once you’re finished, you can take that box filled with “banned foods” to a food bank of your choice.
Let’s start with the fridge, which is essentially the heart of your kitchen. If you find something in your fridge that is on the “Donate this” list, then you know what you have to do. Get that box ready.
Beverages with high fructose corn syrup or sugar. Drinking calories is one of the quickest ways to gain weight, so quickly rid your fridge of any beverage that lists HFCS or sugar on the ingredient list.
You’ll be surprised at how many products include high fructose corn syrup. The long list includes crackers, cold cuts, and even some brands of bread!
Water. It’s a well-known fact that most people are partially dehydrated, meaning they have a less than optimal hydration level (not that they’re thirsty!). This is a state that is harmful to your health and seriously impacts your weight loss efforts. Drink plenty of water and eat foods with a high water content (e.g. strawberries, melons, lettuce, etc.)
Fatty meats. I know you’ve been bombarded with lots of info on the importance of protein. But it’s very important that you’re selective about the kind of meat you eat. For example, if I told you that chicken is a great source of meat-protein, I don’t mean fried or breaded chicken! With poor choices of meat-protein, the benefit of the protein will be lost in the extra fat/carb calories.
Lean meats. Skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, white fish…there are plenty of choices when it comes to lean meats.
Fruit-flavored yogurt. I hate to break this to you, but that cute individually packaged yogurt is going to do more harm to your waistline than you think. More than 50% of the calories in fruit-flavored yogurt come from sugar. Check out the ingredient list and you likely find both high fructose corn syrup AND sugar.
Plain low-fat yogurt, Greek yogurt, or low-fat cottage cheese. If you love yogurt, then get the low-fat plain version. You can even chop up some fresh fruit and stir it in (berries are a great option!). Another option is to have a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese with chopped fruit on top.
This may be the most painful part of your kitchen raid, since we both know what’s usually kept in the pantry… you might need to give yourself a pep talk before doing this.
Heavily processed cereal. If sugar or high fructose corn syrup is listed as ingredients on your cereal box, it’s got to go. Sugar-filled cereal IS junk food, and will only add inches to your waist.
Whole Grain Oatmeal. There is a huge difference between instant (aka sugar-filled) oatmeal and whole grain oatmeal. Just like there’s a big difference between you successfully losing weight, and not reaching your goal. If you’d prefer to succeed and maintain your results, use whole grain oatmeal instead.
Chips & Crackers. While refined chips and crackers are fun to munch on, the extra calories will quickly add up. Do yourself a favor by not allowing these into your pantry.
Almonds. You can start with salted almonds if you have to, but switch to unsalted almonds asap.
Also, just have a few! Almonds are a great fat source, just don’t overdo them. Place a handful of almonds into individual bags for pre-portioned snacks.
Packaged Sweets & Junk. I don’t really have to explain this one, do I? Cookies, cakes, and candies shouldn’t be a regular part of your diet, so keep them out of your house. It’s one thing to enjoy a dessert once in a while, it is quite another to routinely eat processed sweets at home.
Oh, and for anyone using their kids as an excuse for a sugar-filled pantry, stop. These foods are just as harmful to your children. Get rid of the junk!
Dried Fruit. When you want to munch on something sweet, turn to a bag of dried fruit. Make sure that you purchase dried fruit that don’t contain added sugars and only have a few at a time.
You can now take that box of banned foods to your nearest food bank and don’t look back!
It’s a great idea to raid your kitchen every few months as a way of keeping yourself on track. Not only will it remove some of the causes behind your weight gain, it also makes “healthy eating” a discussion in your home.
Open up a dialogue with your family members, significant others, or housemates about the healthy changes that you’re making. You’re making a lifestyle change and you can encourage them to support you!