What’s in your pantry?


Spring is here and this is a great opportunity to clean your pantry.  Not only clean it from dust and re-organize it, but from products that are not healthy for you and your family.   I know many want to lose weight for the summer and the bikini – season is here!  So why not take this time to clean your pantry from goodies, things that are tempting such as, cookies, chocolate, products made out of refined grains, products high in sugar, canned items, and/or highly processed items?

These are the items my roommate and I found in our pantry.  We will be getting rid of them, since they are opened items.


Here are 10 tips to eliminate items which are not healthy and mostly highly processed.

  1. Canned foods.  Most canned items are high in sodium, additives or chemicals.  Read the labels and make sure you know the ingredients.  If you don’t know an ingredient, toss it!  High in Sodium? Toss it!  Additives? Toss it!
  2. Refined Grains: Pastas or products made of white flour, white rice or couscous.  These are the types of carbohydrates you want to avoid.  Replace with whole wheat, quinoa, or animal protein pastas.
    1. Ramen Noodles
      1. Ramen noodles contain tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), a petroleum byproduct used as a food preservative.
      2. High in Sodium  1,560 grams of sodium per pack.  Recommended daily sodium intake is 2300 grams.
      3. High in saturated fat.
  3. Foods high in added sugars:  If a product says “fat free” or “non-fat,” it is most likely high in added sugars.  Make sure you read the labels for products such as pancake syrup, jams, ketchup, chocolate/strawberry syrups, barbecue sauce, cereals, desserts, baking mixes, granola bars, fruit snacks, canned fruit, and dried fruits.
    1. sugar
  4. Trans Fats are toxic to our bodies and associated with diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.  Read the labels, FDA requires products below 0.5 g Trans Fat not to label it, but this does not mean it’s free of trans fats.  Look at the ingredient list. Most products will be labeled as “partially hydrogenated.”  Avoid non-dairy creamers, salad dressings, potato chips, shortening, pie crusts, fried food items, margarine, cake mixes and frosting,  microwave popcorn.cookies, some crackers, frozen dinners.
    1. nutrition-labeltrans far
  5. Highly processed Cooking Oils such as, corn oil, canola oil, safflower oil, or soybean oil.  These are high trans fats and Omega-6, which cause inflammation in our bodies.  Replace with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut Oil, which are healthy for you and high in Omega-3s.  You need a healthy balance ratio of Omega-3s:Omega-6.
  6. MSG or monosodium glutamate is a food additive that enhances the ‘meaty’ flavors in foods.  It is commonly found in Chinese food, frozen meat dinners, veggie/chicken or beef bouillon used to flavor stews, canned vegetables or soups.  Some claim consuming MSG is as bad as drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes.  Below is an image with side effects.  Image and complete article from http://goo.gl/nPuik
    1. MSG2
  7. Expired or not-dated items.  Many times we don’t keep track of expiration dates, but keep an eye on these items.  Throw them away if expired, or if you don’t remember the last time you used an opened item.
  8. Shelf Life of items.  I came a great blog article by Shaina Olmanso.  She lists the shelf-life for items in your pantry.  You can find the complete blog http://goo.gl/xEGh67



Spices have pretty long shelf lives, but buying a pound of cinnamon if you only use it sporadically isn’t doing you any favors on saving a penny. They lose their kick over time, especially ground ones. Clean out the cupboard and then start anew, storing spices in a cool, dark place in airtight containers.

  • Whole Spices and Herbs: 1-2 years
  • Whole Seeds and Roots: 3 years
  • Ground Spices and Herbs: 1 year
  • Ground Roots: (e.g. ginger) 1-2 years

Nuts, Seeds, and Oils

Nuts, seeds, and oils are particularly susceptible to turning rancid with fluctuating temperatures and humid conditions. Be sure your pantry is cool and dark to help extend their life. Bitter tasting nuts and oils should be thrown out.

  • Oils: up to 18 months unopened, 1-6 months opened in cool, dark conditions
  • Dried Beans: 1-2 years unopened
  • Canned Beans: 2-3 years
  • Raw Nuts (without shell): 4 months
  • Raw Nuts (with shell): 6 months
  • Peanut and Nut Butter: 6-9 months unopened, 2-3 months opened (shelf stable varieties)
  • Raw Seeds (without shell): 2-3 months
  • Roasted Seeds (without shell): 3-4 months
  • Roasted Seeds (with shell): 4-5 months

Flours and Whole Grains

Flours and whole grains need to be stored in airtight containers to avoid absorbing moisture and odors. Storing in the refrigerator can extend shelf life, which can be useful for whole grains that have a shorter shelf life due to the oils found in their bran and germ. These are estimates and not a a complete list and information on shelf life in the refrigerator.

  • Barley (pearled):12 months
  • Brown Rice: 6 months
  • White Rice: 2-4 years
  • Wild Rice: 2- years
  • All-Purpose Flour: 8 months
  • Bread Flour: 3-6 months
  • Brown Rice Flour: Store in the refrigerator due to the high oil content.
  • Corn Flour: 1 year
  • Flaxseed: 2-3 months
  • Spelt Flour:4-5 months
  • White Rice Flour: indefinitely when properly stored
  • Whole Wheat Flour: 2-3 months in a cool place, 6 months in the refrigerator

Sauces, Condiments, and Other Pantry

Shelf lives for these products can be long, yes, but it’s always a good idea to check the expiration date on condiments and sauces or canned goods.

  • Baking Soda: 18-24 months
  • Baking Powder: 6 months
  • Dried Bread Crumbs: 6 months
  • Buttermilk Powder: 2 years
  • Oatmeal, Grits, and Hot Cereals: 1 year
  • Chocolate: 6-12 months unopened and stored in a cool, dry place
  • Corn Meal: 6-12 months
  • Corn Starch: 18 months
  • Dried Fruits: 6-12 months
  • Jam and Jelly: 1 year unopened
  • Ketchup: 1 year unopened
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: 2-3 years
  • Evaporated Milk: 1-2 years
  • Molasses: 1-2 years
  • Mustard: 2 years unopened
  • Olives: 1 year unopened
  • Pasta (dried): 2 years
  • Sauces: 1 year
  • Sugar (Brown): 6-12 months
  • Sugar (Confectioners’): 2-3 years
  • Sugar (Granulated):2-3 years
  • Vanilla and Other Extracts: 2 years unopened, 1 year opened
  • Vinegar: 2 years unopened, 1 year opened
  • Yeast (packets): 2 years (check expiration date)

Are you ready to Spring Clean your Pantry?   I hope my tips help you eliminate those foods that are not healthy for you and your family.  Food is medicine.  Make sure you educate yourself and are aware of the things you buy by reading the labels.

Need help with this topic?  Comment below this post or send me an email at mcfitnessnutrition@gmail.com

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