Yes, food can be a clutter problem. And if you don’t believe me, I challenge you to open any cabinet—go ahead, I’ll wait—and see if any of these items are inside:
-Something you don’t remember buying.
-Something you planned to eat but never did.
-Something with more than five ingredients in it. Something with more than two multisyllabic ingredients.
* * * * *
Yep, that’s clutter. And no matter what else you may find to argue about, I think you’ll have to agree that it’s a pretty straight line between a leaned-out pantry and a leaned- out physique.
So here are my kitchen rules for leaner and cleaner:
The refrigerator is king.
It’s where most of your food should live. Why? Because if your food is shelf-stable, it’s processed, and if it’s processed, it’s not the best choice. You know this. Healthier food choices have five or fewer ingredients, and true whole foods have just one ingredient and need refrigeration in order to keep.
Skip the smell test.
If it’s past its expiration date, toss it!
If you can’t pronounce it, denounce it!
Beware the following ingredients: monosodium glutamate (MSG), trans fats, high-fruc- tose corn syrup (HFCS), sorbitol, aspartame, saccharine, sucralose (Splenda), and sug- ar alcohols like erythritol. If Great Grandma didn’t cook with it, don’t eat it!
Divide and conquer.
Personally, I hate seeing more food than I can eat. What person ever consumes two whole celery hearts? Food piles and mystery containers mean hassle, and hassle means forget it, I’ll just eat leftover pizza. So when you buy food, divide it! Portion it out into containers or freezer bags. Then you can grab what you want when you want it. No prep, no fuss, no feeling that you lost control of your food plan. And I love my glass contain- ers: they’re BPA free, you can see what’s in them, and they make colorful veggies look as good as dessert. Well, almost.
Become a spice girl.
Spice is what lets you become a foodie and fit. I am not kidding when I say I prefer a hard-boiled egg with smoked salt to a bacon-and-cheese omelet. And don’t forget the fresh stuff, like cilantro and basil. Check out recipes online or at the back of this book, and when you see a spice or seasoning you’ve never heard of, go for it.
When you’re prepping for positive change, these rules matter! In the end, your cleaner, leaner pantry will mean you’ll see a whole lot less waste. And yes, you’ll see less of yourwaist as well. (I know. I went there.)