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Spring clean your kitchen for healthier eating

Michelle Dudash, RD, is nationally recognized as an expert in teaching people how health and food can happily co-exist. Through her 18 years of food business experience as a Le Cordon Bleu certified chef having cooked at a five star rest...

Start fresh!

Signs of spring have already sprung as budding flowers and rising temperatures are leaving people inspired to clean out their homes. Whether your mantra is to divide and conquer, or gut out the kitchen completely, these tips can help you start off spring and summer in a healthier way.

Be Ruthless

Remember, if it's not in your kitchen, you can't eat it. Throw out all the half eaten bags of candy, cookies, chips, and old condiments. Donate high sodium canned goods to a food bank and take the sugary beverages to the workplace break room. This newly found free space will make it easier to find the healthier foods.

Replace and display

Now it's time for the fun part. Make pantry snacks more inviting by filling glass jars with dried fruit, nuts, and healthy trail mix. Pre-portion individual servings into small containers for a nutritious snack on the go. Organize brown rice and whole grain pastas in glass jars. Replace the candy and cookie jars with a shallow bowl of fresh fruit on the countertop.

Veg Out

The Center for Disease Control estimates that 73 percent of Americans are not meeting the recommended number of servings per day. There are no excuses for not eating enough vegetables if you have easy to prepare and easily accessible varieties available. Season cooked vegetable side dishes with additions that pack a punch like vinaigrette dressings, fresh lemon, flavored vinegars, julienned sun-dried tomatoes, and toasted slivered almonds.

Wash and cut up vegetables immediately after grocery shopping so they're ready for eating. Display them in clear containers in the front of middle shelves so they sit where you can see them. Keep nutritious dips available such as light ranch and hummus.

Something Fishy

Life exists beyond chicken breast and ground beef. The USDA Dietary Guidelines point out that Americans average only 3 1/2-ounces of seafood per week per person, coming up short in the recommended 8-ounces.

The warmer months serve as prime time for many fish varieties. Species to catch fresh now through early fall include halibut and wild salmon. Varieties available year round include canned wild salmon (mix into salmon cakes), rainbow trout (roll in chopped pistachios and pan fry), tilapia (sauté for tacos), and cod (bake in breadcrumbs).

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