5 Steps to Spring Clean Your Kitchen

This post was written by our friends at Melissa Rifkin Nutrition. Melissa Rifkin, MS, RD, CDN, CSO is a New York City dietitian who specializes in weight management, bariatrics, and oncology.  With a Master's degree from New York University, and over 10 years of experience in clinical nutrition, Melissa helps a wide range of clients meet their nutrition needs. You can follow Melissa over on Instagram at @confessionsofadietitian.

Spring

Ahhh Spring. Reinvigorating, inspiring, and more than welcome after months of cold dreary weather! But warmer days and fresh air also usher in bathing suit season, cookouts, and beach time. Not to mention the dreaded spring cleaning routine.

But don’t fret! Revamping and purging your kitchen and pantry can be simple and fun. Set yourself up for success with these 5 spring-cleaning kitchen hacks.

1. Out with the old, in with the new. Getting rid of unused or expired food is the first step on your way to a spring-cleaned kitchen. Grab a trash bag, and take 15 minutes to go through your refrigerator and pantry. That half-empty bottle of olives tucked in the depths of your ice box? Toss it. The box of crackers that didn’t get closed and have gone stale? Trash. If you haven’t used an item in the past 3 months, get rid of it or donate it to a local food pantry. Starting with a clean slate is the first step to getting you well on your way to a spring-cleaned kitchen.

2. Store it right. One of my favorite tricks to keeping an organized pantry full of healthy options is to use clear storage containers (always BPA-free or glass!). I often use mason jars or other glass containers with sealed lids to store items like dried beans, grains, cereal, and flour. I also purchase baskets and bins for my pantry and refrigerator to keep items like snack bars, fruits, and vegetables organized. Having these items neatly organized and visible will encourage you to reach for them more often, and will cut down on clutter.

Pantry

3. Clear those counters. Counter space is a premium in any kitchen. If you don’t have room to prepare and cook food, making meals can be a lot less enjoyable. Make sure that everything in your kitchen has a use! A few decorative plants and cookbooks might add visual appeal, but if they’re taking up coveted space to prepare food, relocate them. Kitchen counters are often a dumping ground for mail, keys, and other miscellaneous items. Find a decorative basket and use it as a “catch-all” for these things!

4. Do some deep cleaning. Nothing feels better than a kitchen free of cabinet streaks and cooktop grime. I like to make my own natural cleaning solution with equal parts water and vinegar and a splash of lemon juice or tea tree oil. This all-purpose and all-natural cleaner works magic on tough grease spots and all kitchen surfaces. Clean everything- counters, cabinets, drawers, drains, anything where a towel and spray bottle can reach!

Cleaning

5. Restock with the right stuff. Now that you’ve created a clean and functional space to cook, prepare, and eat food, make sure that you restock with healthy appealing items! Reach for minimally processed items with a simple ingredient list. Whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and quality lean sources of protein are all great options to have on hand. Here are a few of my quick tips on healthy grocery shopping:

  • - When picking bread or other grain-based foods like crackers, try to choose an option that lists “whole grain” as the first ingredient.
  • - Keep an eye out for added sugars, and choose condiments with less than 3g sugar per serving.
  • - Choose yogurt with less than 7g sugar per serving (and pick Greek- it has more protein!)
  • - Buy organic/non-GMO if possible- particularly when shopping for the “dirty dozen.”
  • - Stick to leaner protein options including chicken breasts, lean ground meat, and fish.
  • - Don’t go hungry- make sure you’ve eaten a meal before shopping to avoid grabbing less healthful options.
  • - Need to satisfy that sweet tooth? Look for the more “macro-friendly” indulgences like Halo Top Ice Cream or FlapJacked Mighty Muffins.

By following these simple steps, you will set yourself up for a refreshed, happy, health-filled spring. Leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated! Giving your kitchen this spring facelift is the first step to new healthy habits. Good luck…now get to cleaning :)



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