Jenn made the joke that baring our pantries could read totally differently with the omission of one letter. I’ll admit that sending photos of my pantry to a nutritionist did feel slightly like I was going pantless and showing off my under-britches to the world. But we’re nothing if not honest around here, whether we’re talking about our healthiest habits or the ones we need to tweak, like my sugar habit. Plus, I was all for seeing how I could tweak my dry goods stash to make it a bit healthier.
First, a tour of my Lazy Susan. I have additional cupboard space for baking necessities and spices and counter space for bread, but this is the meat of it. It took four turns of old Susan to get it all pictured. At the top of this turn: Canned soups, bread crumbs and two honey bears. I went through a lot of honey and Greek yogurt at the beginning of my pregnancy. Bottom row: Some No Yolks egg noodles, lasagna noodles and evaporated milk that I bought in a six-pack and only used two of for pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving.
Turn two. At the top of this turn, we’ve got sauerkraut and canned fruits. At bottom: Rice wine vinegar, fish oil, cooking wine, sesame and safflower oils (safflower left over from my hubby’s b-day cake. Remember this one?), and mandarin oranges. I also see hot chocolate hiding in there.
Now coming into turn three, we’ve got peanut butter, lite coconut milk, canned tuna and chicken broth. Down below, granola, bouillon granules and cherry Jell-O.
Rounding the corner into the home stretch, we’ve got a lot going on. Up top: Just about every variety of tomato imaginable, fat-free refried beans, green chilies, corn, black beans, garbanzo beans, baked beans. I also spy applesauce. Down below: More egg noodles (there must have been a sale!), whole-grain pasta, orzo and a massive bag of powdered sugar.
So we sent these pictures to nutritionist Keri Glassman, who is working with Arnold/Orowheat Sandwich Thins for its Smart Eating campaign, to get her opinion on what could be tweaked. Here are her suggestions for me!
- Go for natural peanut butter where the only ingredient is peanuts and there is no added sodium or sugar or trans fats.
- I see you have canned tuna. I recommend chunk light tuna and canned salmon.
- Avoid the Jell-O and packaged fruit, instead try frozen berries or just fresh produce.
- Most granolas are still loaded with calories and sugar, you can make your own healthy topping or snack with nuts, dried fruit (in portion control and with no added sugar or sulfur) seeds like sunflower, pumpkin and flax.
- It’s good you have whole-wheat pasta, make sure all your pasta is whole wheat. You can also add in whole grains like quinoa, amaranth and millet. And of course, Arnold/Oroweat 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins rolls are great to have on hand for a quick sandwich.
So really, that wasn’t as painful as I thought it’d be. It’s funny because these suggestions are things I know I should do more of—whole-wheat pasta and other whole grains. Granola? Well, I can guarantee I won’t be making my own any time soon, so I mostly just try to watch portions there. And the Jell-O cracks me up. I think I picked it up one day on a craving-led whim, and I never think ahead far enough to make it because it takes so long to set up. So there it sits, along with two cans of fruit that have been in there since…forever. You can even see the dust on those peaches. The packaged mandarin oranges (sugar-free, in water!) are mostly for the little one in a pinch if I’m running low on other fruits or she needs a super-quick snack.
What items are in your pantry that you know should be swapped out? Anything collecting dust? —Erin