Healthier Snacking Made Simple

Five steps to reorganize your pantry for healthier eating

(RxWiki News) Our environment influences our eating habits. And that includes your pantry.

You can improve your ability to choose healthier foods by reorganizing your pantry in five steps. Here's how to get started.

1. Move Items Around

The main objective is to organize your pantry to have the healthier foods where you can see them and your unhealthier foods in harder-to-reach places:

  • Store unhealthy food options, such as candy, cookies and sweets, on higher cabinets and shelves.
  • Store the less healthy treats in opaque containers. Think out of sight, out of mind.
  • Place healthier options front and center. Next time you are searching for a snack, seeing and having these options within arm's reach may make you more likely to choose these healthier options.

2. Go One Step Further

For the unhealthy options, in addition to storing them high up or behind healthy items, can you go one step further? Store unhealthy items like cookies in an opaque container, in a bag with a tie or anything else that will make them a little harder to get to. Humans tend to want to do whatever is easiest. So, if you make the habit harder to do, you're less likely to eat the unhealthy snack.

3. Stock Up on Healthy Staples

Think whole grain pastas, brown rice and cans of beans, lentils and other legumes. These items stay fresh for a long time and can be great options when you are low on time and need to whip up a healthy side dish. If you have options, you're less likely to choose fast food.

4. Stock Your Pantry with Healthy Snacks

When you are reaching for a snack mid-afternoon or after dinner, having a nutritious healthy snack readily available makes the decision easier.

Good "go-to" healthy snacks include anything that is high in protein and/or fiber and low on salt, sugar and fat.

Some examples include:

  • Nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.)
  • Seeds
  • Nut butter
  • Non-perishable single hummus packs
  • Dried seaweed

5. Pre-Package Snacks

When snacking, sometimes it can be hard to eat only one serving, especially when we are distracted. A quick tip is to pre-package snacks in small bags or containers. This makes for an easy-to-grab, on-the-go snack that is healthy. Plus, by pre-portioning your snacks ahead of time, you prevent yourself from overeating.

Talk to your health care provider before making any major changes to your diet.