Change Your Pantry – Change Your Health

Hello Loyal Soup People! Over the many years of writing this column, I’ve learned how important visual cues are to eating healthfully. From using smaller plates to displaying bowls of fruit on your counter, changing what you see can make a big difference in your food choices. In the past I’ve provided suggestions about what foods to keep in your refrigerator. This week I’d like to write about healthy swaps you can make in your pantry:

– Trade salted nuts for raw nuts. Peanuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts, and more – nuts are very healthy! In moderation, they are excellent sources of healthy fat, protein, and fiber. However, roasted nuts are often loaded with added oil, salt, and sugar. Instead, buy raw nuts and roast them yourself. It takes very little time and makes your kitchen smell heavenly!

– Swap out store bought salad dressings for homemade versions. Most commercially made salad dressings are loaded with sugar, salt, and preservatives. Making your own salad dressing is easy, costs half the money, and results in a more flavorful and healthy product. Search online for some fun, homemade dressing ideas.

– Watch out for tomato sauce! Tomato and pizza sauces are surprisingly full of sugar and salt. This time of year, tomatoes are EVERYWHERE. Have some fun and make your own sauce. Make a big batch and freeze several portions to use throughout the winter. If you do buy a store-brand, make sure it is low salt.

– Beware of nut butter – Like tomato sauce, nut butters can often be full of added sugar and salt. Fortunately, there are great, natural brands that add nothing to their products. You’ll often see separation between the nut butter and the naturally occurring oils. Just give a good stir to mix everything together. Or, you can make your own nut butter at home! Beware – this can get messy!

Many shelf stable items can be sneaky sources of added sugar, fat, and salt. If you’re unable to make these things at home, be sure to read the labels!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!