Does Your Pantry Need a Health Sweep? Here are 10 Things to Clear Out of Your Pantry Today

Here's a list of 10 items you can easily do without

1. Chips

Don't be fooled by labels that claim the chips are "low sodium", "organic'', "natural" or "reduced fat". They're still full of calories. And don't fall for chips made out of vegetables like sweet potatoes or beets. Chips are practically designed to make you eat too many. They're delicious, and not at all filling. You can inhale several hundred calories before you even notice how much you've eaten! Try doing that with broccoli or apples!

2. Sugary soft drinks

Whether it's soda or fruit drinks, sugar adds empty calories that sabotages your nutrition plan. Plain water is the best choice, as well as seltzer, club soda and plain iced tea. Add a twist of lemon, lime or cucumber for a natural flavor boost.

3. Canned frosting

It's just too easy to open the container and get out a spoon. Yes, it can be a really bad thing to keep around if you're trying to eat healthier. Similar items: marshmallow fluff, nacho cheese sauce and prepared puddings.

4. Flavored popcorn

Butter, cheese, caramel and other high-fat/high-sugar microwave popcorn varieties have unnecessary extra calories, as well as sodium. Plain popcorn is actually the best choice.

5. Sugary cereals

Vitamin fortification does not make these types of cereals a nutritious choice. Not to mention, it's never a good idea to start the day by eating a lot of sugar. And because they are low fiber, they're just not filling. The best cereals are minimally sweetened varieties like shredded wheat, bran or oatmeal.

6. Pastries and doughnuts

If you're trying to manage your weight, there's no room for boxes of doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and pastries in your pantry. If you must occasionally have one of these treats, buy an individual one, not an entire box.

7. Ice cream and candy

This may sound like a no-brainer, since these are tempting and easy to binge on. But plenty of dieters keep these foods around with the excuse that "they're for guests" or "for the kids". Guess who ends up eating it all? You? Clear it out.

8. Boxes and bags of cookies

It's hard to eat just one. And before you know it, you've eaten half the bag. So just clear them out of the kitchen. If they're not there, you can't mindlessly snack on them. Stock up on pre-cut vegetables and fresh fruit instead.

9. Frozen microwavable snack foods

I am talking about mini-pizzas, burritos, potato puffs, sliders, corn dogs, chicken nuggets, deep fried cheese puffs and the like. They may look small and sound like a great snack idea, but they're high In calories and low in nutrition. And because they're easily prepared, it's easy to eat too many at one time.

10. "Granola" or breakfast bars that are really just candy

One clue that your bar is candy: frosting. Another clue: chocolate chips or marshmallow bits. Another: sugary fruit-flavored filling. A high sugar bar is not a good meal choice, especially for breakfast. Toaster pastries are just as bad. Check the ingredient label. If you need a convenient snack or breakfast food, choose plain nuts or a PB&J on whole wheat bread.

Originally published 25 February 2014
Updated: August 23, 2019

Donna P Feldman MS RDN

is author of "Feed Your Vegetarian Teen", writes about food and nutrition at Radio Nutrition and is co-host of the Walk Talk Nutrition podcast series.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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Meal Planning & Diets/"Plan, Shop, Prep, and Cook" Weight Loss/Cravings Weight Loss/Food Environment

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