Ten Steps To An Unprocessed Pantry

October 1, 2012 3:02 am
Posted in: Food For Thought
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Melissa Lanz is the founder of The Fresh 20, a weekly meal-planning service that helps thousands of people get wholesome food on the table each week. She also created the Family Food Summit, an online conversation with food industry leaders, about feeding our families. She also writes on her blog, Soul on a Platter, and is currently finishing up her first book. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

The foundation of unprocessed eating is a healthy pantry.  Clean out the junk and invest in a few items that will aid in the construction of nutritious meals.

I’ve gathered ten simple rules to stocking your pantry for October Unprocessed success!

  1. No artificial ingredients.  It’s time to remove all of the items like chips, dips, dressings, etc. that do not contribute to a whole foods diets.
  2. Get rid of everything that contains high fructose corn syrup and any trans fats.
  3. Avoid any “instant” mixes, boxed meals and processed chips.
  4. Examine your energy bar. Read the label. If it has any ingredients you do not recognize, switch brands.
  5. Get rid of any pre-made sauces with added sugars or other additives.  For example, replace jarred sauces with organic, low-sodium tomato paste.  It still gives you the convenience of a quick sauce but provides a single ingredient pantry item as the starter.
  6. Steer clear of canned fruits or vegetables. Frozen varieties offer more nutrition if fresh produce is not an option.
  7. Eliminate microwave popcorn bags.  Part of going unprocessed means incorporating as many whole food, single ingredient items as possible into your pantry. Buy kernels in bulk and pop the old-fashioned way. [Andrew's Note: You can still use your microwave if you want! Here's how.]
  8. Replace sugars with honey or maple syrup which fall under the whole food category, unlike processed sugars.
  9. Purchase 100% fruit juice and unsweetened applesauce.
  10. Use only whole grain foods like brown rice and whole wheat pasta.

And some suggestions to help you stay the course!

Increase on hand amounts of bulgar and quinoa. These are high-nutrition grains that are easy to combine with fresh vegetables to create a quick, balanced meal.

Make your own granola from organic rolled oats, honey, slivered almonds with add-ins like shredded coconut, cranberries and dark chocolate.

Have the spices in your pantry been on the shelf for over a year? Time to replace! Invest in quality spices from local farmers markets. Using dried herbs in place of salt can lower your blood pressure without sacrificing flavor.

Switch to wholesome snacks in small quantities, like almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruits and fresh fruit.  Keeping a small snack with you during the day will provide an alternative to chips and high sugar snacks when cravings arise.

October Unprocessed2012

This guest post was part of the October Unprocessed 2012 Challenge, in which more than 6,000 people pledged to eat no processed food for the month. Learn More.

35 Comments on "Ten Steps To An Unprocessed Pantry"
  1. Comment left on:
    October 2, 2012 at 11:39 am
    Tori says:

    Thanks for the WW tortilla tips! I have made from scratch and my kids hated them… i have gotten them on ww pasta and bread but tortillas have been hard… I found some Alvarado St? Tortillas at Whole Foods, that everyone liked but the nearest WF is about an hour away so I am looking for other options! I will check out pinterest too!
    So excited to continue on the eating Real Food journey! Thank you Andrew for this website! What a great resource!

  2. Comment left on:
    October 2, 2012 at 6:08 pm
    Dara says:

    This has been eye opening just on Day 2. I normally eat Boca burgers, laughing cow cheese, triscuits, and a canola spray user for eggs. This challenge has helped me to see how much processed stuff I consume. My husband and I would eat out at least 4-5 times a week, and made over all healthy choices even then.
    I slipped up using a natural bbq sauce from Wholefoods that has xanthum in it, and balsamic glaze in it too yesterday on Day 1. I am not going to beat myself up over, otherwise it is going great.
    I cannot find a non-processed tortilla brand any ideas?

  3. .
    October 3, 2012 at 3:04 am

    [...] those of you who have committed to during October Unprocessed 2012, or for those who want to take part, you may be wondering how to even begin in this journey. [...]

  4. .
    October 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    [...] Ten steps to an unprocessed pantry [...]

  5. .
    October 17, 2012 at 10:00 am

    [...] about cleaning up your pantry and really getting back to old school ways of cooking and meal prep. http://www.eatingrules.com/2012/10/an-unprocessed-kitchen/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  6. .
    December 9, 2012 at 10:26 am

    [...] to change about what I was eating I was ready to face this challenge, cleaning out the pantry.  This was very helpful to me for a guideline of what I was to do, when doing the [...]

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