6 Steps to Creating a Healthy Pantry (and fridge too)

The most common challenge that I hear from clients is that they cannot resist the temptations of junk food and sweets in their house.

My follow-up question is typically along the lines of “What is your primary barrier against removing those items from your kitchen, so you don’t have to face the temptation daily?” 

The answer is almost always something having to do with not being able to get rid of the junk food because the kids/spouse/partner/roommate having to have access to it.

This is a common issue among households; one person decides to focus on their health and nutrition, but the rest of the family is not on board.  Often, the family has not even been made aware of the person’s intention.  However, if you are serious about improving your health, the first step is having a sincere conversation with your family (or whoever you live with) about your needs and motivation.


If they understand why you are trying to make a change, and that their health is important too, they are more likely to get on board.  As parents, it is especially tempting to reassure ourselves that kids can eat junk food because they are young and resilient, but the truth is that it is just as dangerous for kids.  This is confirmed by the statistic stating that this generation of kids is the first generation not expected to live as long as their parents.

If you are the “wellness-pioneer” in your home, seeking better health and well-being, gather your family and ask them to come along.  At the very least, share the intention that unhealthy foods are not going to be available in the house.  Reassure your family that junk food and treats will be available for special occasions but not as the “norm”.  It is helpful to research a few common ingredients (i.e. sugar, additives, or corn oil) and let them know the effect is it having on your bodies.

Now, you are ready to prep your pantry for success (and your fridge too).  This is a necessary step to set yourself up for success.

Start HERE

  1. Make a list of the foods you most often grab in a moment of stress, craving, or in a hurry. This is your priority replacement list.
  2. Make a grocery list of healthy alternatives (see below for my list).
  3. Throw away the foods from #1 in your pantry and fridge.


  1. Set aside an hour to read the food labels in your home. You may have a good idea of the “junk food” in your house but have you looked at all the foods that frequent your pantry and fridge? Even prepared soups, bread or yogurt can have hidden ingredients that are sabotaging your health.  Look for these specific items: Sugar content (the lower the better), fiber content (the higher the better) and MOST IMPORTANTLY, the ingredients  If there are more than 5 ingredients and if any of them are not a word that you recognize as food, it needs to go in the trash can.d1f96b0b4d056a262eda7c16b9265d90--doritos-junk-food
  2. Go shopping and replace your unhealthy items with healthy alternatives.
  3. Make a list of your “healthy” grab-and-go options and post the list on your fridge. This will serve as a reminder to you and your household that you have great options when you are in a pinch or sensing a craving.  In those moments, we all go towards the path of least resistance so make it easy on your brain with a “map”.


Junk Food Replacement List

Trash This

Buy This


Organic Microwave popcorn or salted nuts


Carrots or other crunchy veggie with dip (hummus, guacamole or other alternative)

Cookies and baked sweets

Dried fruit such as mango or apple *Trader Joe’s carries organic and no-added sugar options

Processed granola bars

Trail mix with raw nuts, dark chocolate and dried fruit


Organic single serving oatmeal packets (look for very low sugar and add a dash of maple syrup)

Ice cream

Homemade frozen yogurt and mixed fruit pops


A fresh batch of lemonade sweetened with stevia

Pop tart and pastries

Whole grain and nut granola topped with fruit and yogurt

Processed and prepared meats

Grass fed beef or turkey jerky

Frozen organic (non-breaded) chicken tenders

Processed cheese

Raw organic cheese

Candy bars

Dark chocolate (75% or higher) or whole food bars such as Lara or Kind Bar

Frozen pizza and “TV dinners”

Keep your freezer stocked with single serving, re-heat able leftovers such as chicken soup, chili, etc.

REMEMBER: When You subscribe to my blog, you can receive my Pantry Replacement List and weekly recipe in an printable PDF format via email!

WEEKLY RECIPE!!!! This is a great replacement for “junky” take out!

Chicken Fried Brown Rice 500_F_102760818_oZPHTvMRqGyFafh0rlTC55jSxsWMoNsS

Makes 8 servings


  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cup cooked peas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice, cold
  • 4 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breast chopped very thin.


  1. Cook 2 cups dried brown rice to make 4 cups cooked (this can be done one or two days prior, or use leftover)
  2. Dice carrots and onions, set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, beat egg with water. Melt 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add egg and leave flat for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from skillet and cut into shreds.
  4. In the same skillet, cook chicken with 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. tamari. Set aside.
  5. Heat 2 tbsp oil in same skillet; add onion, carrot and cooked peas and saute until soft. Then add rice, remaining tamari, pepper and chicken. Stir fry together for about 5 minutes, then stir in egg. Serve hot.


  • 287 calories
  • 32 grams of carbs
  • 4 grams fiber
  • 10 grams fat
  • 15 grams protein
  • Great source of Vitamin A, B1, B3, B6, choline, phosphorus, selenium and manganese


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