Is Your Pantry Making You Fat? Clean It Out!

Photo Credit: USDA PD
You spent a lot of money to stock your pantry. You have snacks, canned foods, quick meals, flour and oil. You’re stocked up for the month and chances are you will be eating what is in your pantry. The food choices in your pantry might be one of the reasons you can’t drop those last 10 pounds no matter how much you work out. Check your pantry for those diet-defeating goodies.

The worst foods for you and your family include those that are high in sugar, salt, solid fats and refined flour. Soda and sweetened drinks are the worst offenders for empty calories from sugar. Foods with empty calories are high in calories, but provide little or no nutritional benefit. Energy drinks are on this list too. Opt for tea and water instead. Sweetened cold cereals made using refined flour are big diet disasters. Choose cold cereals made with whole grains without any added sugar. 
Cakes and cupcakes are obviously going to add empty calories to your diet. Choose whole grain muffins, fresh or dry fruit and yogurt for deserts and snacks.  Popcorn can provide some fiber and nutrients, but steer clear of the extra butter and movie theater butter varieties. They can be loaded with saturated fat and sodium. The same is true of chips and cheese flavored snacks. Unsalted nuts are also a healthy snack choice. 

You expect Pop Tarts to be full of sugar (about 16 grams of sugar each) but you might be surprised to learn that even the more healthful sounding cereal bars or packaged muffins contain about the same amount of sugar (or more) than your typical toaster pastry. Otis Spunkmeyer brand muffins contribute about 30 grams of sugar per 4-ounce muffin, Weight Watchers muffins add about 20 grams of sugar per 2.2-ounce muffin, and a small Nutri-Grain cereal bar has 13 grams of sugar.
Most canned soups and canned vegetables contain a lot of sodium. Most canned foods contain an entire day’s worth of salt in just one serving. If you have high blood pressure, kidney disease or are just trying to cut down on your salt intake, these foods are a no-no. Select no-sodium or low-sodium varieties of your favorite canned soups. Buy fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned foods.  
You probably have some pasta in your pantry. Is it made with whole grain or refined flour? Switch to whole grain pasta to eliminate refined flour and add more fiber and nutrients to your pasta dishes. Use extra virgin olive oil and canola oil for cooking and salad dressing to eliminate saturated fat from your diet.

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