By Alison Johnson
Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)
As you’re sprucing up your house, pay attention to what’s in your food closets and cabinets too, nutritionists say:
n Purge the old … Toss anything that’s stale or past its use-by date. As a rule, foods and seasonings you didn’t use all winter probably could go – into the trash can or, if they haven’t expired, a food bank.
n … And the junky. Target obvious salt-, sugar- and fat-filled items, such as potato chips and cheese curls, packaged cookies and cakes, toaster pastries and fruit roll-ups.
n Stock up on the good stuff. Keep a regular supply of canned vegetables and tomatoes, marinara sauce, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta, all ingredients for quick and healthy meals.
n Buy the right oils. In general, heart-healthy picks include canola, olive, sesame and sunflower oils, while worse choices are coconut, palm and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Balsamic and white vinegars also are a good way to add flavor.
n Add canned meats. Tuna, salmon and low-fat chicken can easily be turned into lunch or dinner. Be sure to buy meats packed in water – not oil, which adds a lot of calories and fat – and compare labels to avoid high-salt products.
n Add cereal. As a rule, go for boxes with at least three grams – and ideally five grams – of fiber, one gram of soluble fiber and fewer than two grams of saturated fat and 10 grams of sugar per serving. Note: You have a little sugar leeway with cereals that contain dried fruits, which have natural sugars.
n Get good snacks. Unsalted nuts and pretzels, rice cakes, baked chips and salsa and even dark chocolate bars are tasty foods to have on hand for hunger pangs between meals.