Happy Healthy Me
Your refrigerator needs help: It's time to spring clean your kitchen
Spring is a great time to take inventory of your kitchen and get rid of the old stuff to make room for the new. This includes cleaning out your freezer. If you’re like me, you might even have goodies left over from Christmas. If you haven’t eaten them by now, it’s time to say goodbye until next year.
Summer is for watermelon, ice cream, and pool snacks and cold treats, so clear out some space in your food arsenal to get ready. Here are a few ways to spring clean your kitchen.
1. Check expiration dates
The beginning of each season is a great reminder to look through your packaged foods and get rid of items long past their expiration dates. You may keep track of your milk and orange juice dates, but I bet you forget to check canned foods, cereals, and especially the condiment shelf.
Open the jars and make sure things still look good even if they haven’t expired. And don’t forget to check your cheeses and the back of your vegetable drawer, a.k.a. where vegetables go to die. If you can’t remember when you bought something, it’s time to chunk it and replace.
2. Throw out the naughty
Going into summer, don’t tempt yourself with something you shouldn’t have. Trash packaged cookies, candy and chips and replace with something homemade or a baked chip variety. Give away your Girl Scout cookies; swap sugary cereals for something more natural. Toss the ice cream that has a layer of ice caked on.
If there’s something in your freezer and you can’t figure out what it is, get rid of that, too. And start labeling and dating your containers!
3. Clear the counters
Spend a few minutes going through piles of papers and toss out old invitations, grocery lists, and other items that have been on the counter far too long. File away receipts and recipes. And pay a bill if you are just now finding it.
On the now clutter-free counter, add a bowl of apples, pears, and bananas for easy and healthy snacks to grab as you head out the door. Fruits also add color to the kitchen. The tidy counter tops make the room seem more inviting and less stressful. After spending time clearing things out, you may be less tempted to mess it up — at least at first.
4. Freshen up
Spring is also a great time to buy new foods. Try new fruits or vegetables and add in containers of nuts or dried fruit to your pantry for easy grab n’ go.
Empty out your cereal containers and run them in the dishwasher once each season. Wipe down your pantry and refrigerator shelves. To freshen up the kitchen, buy matching canisters for grains, cereals, or nuts.
Once your kitchen is cleaned and restocked, it’s time to get cooking. Start brainstorming new summer salads, grilling recipes, cold soups, and frozen treats to try this season. It will be hot until November, so you have plenty of time to experiment in your newly cleaned kitchen.
Don’t forget to clean out your closet to allow space for new clothes, too. That’s a whole ‘nother story.
Marci Gilbert writes a food and fitness blog at www.marcigilbert.com.