Give your pantry a makeover
A simple five-step guide to whip your pantry into shape. While the ideal pantry will look a little different for everyone, depending on the foods you enjoy eating, there are some common qualities ‘healthy’ pantries share. Here’s how to get yours up to scratch.
Step 1. Clear out and clean up
Start the pantry makeover process with a ‘clean slate’. If it’s been a while since you gave your pantry a thorough spring clean, pull everything out and wipe the shelves down.
Step 2. Take stock
While your pantry contents are lining your benchtops, take the opportunity to take stock of what you’ve got, checking products for expired use-by dates or signs of spoilage. If you do find any products that are past their use-by date, make sure you throw them away. Also consider whether you need to keep products that you rarely or never use in your pantry, before you start restocking the shelves. To create more space, is there another cupboard you could store infrequently used items in?
Step 3. Choose ‘smart’ storage solutions
With everything out of the pantry, it’s also a good opportunity to check the quality of seals on products and containers – because when they’re working properly, they’ll keep your food fresher for longer. You could also take the opportunity to invest in some glass jars for grains like brown rice or pasta so you can identify items quickly. Do you have a handy ½-cup scoop sitting in your breakfast cereal canister as a portion guide? Or how about labelling the side of containers with the SmartPoints® value per serve for handy tracking?
Step 4. Order your shelves
Choose the foods and items you’ll store on the eye-level shelves in your pantry, carefully. Research shows that we naturally gravitate to foods on display in that position, so it’s a good idea to stock those shelves with healthier options – like rolled oats, small tins of tuna in spring water, nuts and packets of miso soup. Next, position any treat foods on higher or lower shelves and if you can, store them in opaque containers – research also shows that out of sight really is out of mind.
Step 5. Stock up on pantry staples
When your pantry is well stocked with a variety of healthy dry, canned or packaged ingredients, you’ll always be able to create a nutritious meal in just a small amount of time. Make sure you have plenty of:
- Fruits and vegies
As well as the usual suspects like canned tomatoes, beetroot and tinned fruit, stock up on more exotic picks like artichoke hearts for home-made pizza, dried shiitake mushrooms for risotto and cans of bean sprouts for Asian stir-fries.
- Legumes and canned fish
Fish canned in spring water and legumes, like chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils and cannellini beans, are ZeroPoint™ foods that have a long shelf life and will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Plus, while legumes are a good source of dietary fibre, which keeps your digestive system healthy, oily fish like salmon is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids that have been linked to improved heart health.
- Wholegrain carbohydrates
Stock up on nutritious wholegrain carbohydrates like brown rice, wholegrain pasta, quinoa and oats. Research shows that a diet high in wholegrains, which are rich in essential vitamins and minerals, can help protect against heart disease, diabetes and some cancers and is associated with better long-term weight management.
- Flavour boosters
As well as good-quality olive oil, pack your pantry with plenty of products that add flavour without adding extra SmartPoints. Go for mustard, spices, balsamic and red wine vinegar, soy sauce, capers, tamarind paste, and dried herbs.