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Archive for Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring-clean your pantry

March 15, 2009

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As you’re sprucing up your house, pay attention to what’s in your food closets and cabinets too, nutritionists say:

• 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.

• And the junky. Target obvious salt-, sugar- and fat-filled items, such as potato chips and cheese curls, packaged cookies and cakes.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• Add cereal. As a rule, go for boxes with at least 3 grams — and ideally 5 grams — of fiber, 1 gram of soluble fiber and fewer than 2 grams of saturated fat.

• 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.

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