For my next installment in the “Clearing the Clutter” series, here’s an interesting statistic for you:
You eat, on average, 1,996 pounds of food every year.
That’s right – you ate nearly one ton of food in 2012.
While that might sound scary, it actually makes sense – our bodies need a whole lot of nutrients and carbohydrates and proteins to function. If we ate much less, we would not be functional.
What IS frightening, however, is what happens when we break down WHAT it is that we are eating: those numbers include 141 pounds of added sweeteners - 42 pounds of which is corn syrup.
We spend more money on processed food than we do on fruits, vegetables, even meat.
How would you like to eat even healthier, and save money at the same time?
How? You build a pantry from scratch!
This post is bridging the gap between last week’s post on Clearing the Clutter (where we focused on physical items that pile up), and the next part of the series, which is clearing the clutter from our bodies and minds.
I think this is so important, because excess sugar, excess salt, and excess chemicals make their way into our bodies through products we use everyday. Everything from the food we eat to the shampoo we use to the lipstick we wear.
So today, we are going to focus on the items where those excesses tend to sneak in without us noticing – through our pantry. Salad dressing, granola, baked beans, breadcrumbs, mayo. Crackers, applesauce, salsa, and jam. All of these tend to have corn syrup and preservatives, as well as excess salt.
The amazing thing? They are all SO easy to make at home. They require no special equipment – just some freezer space and containers. Even better, many of them are basically fix-it-and-forget-it. Throw a bunch of sliced apples into a crockpot, and by nighttime you have a huge batch of applesauce to freeze. Throw a chicken carcass into a pot, in a few hours you have a few quarts of stock. So simple, and so tasty.
Below is a fantastic list of basic recipes that you can use to replace store-bought pantry items. I don’t recommend going and doing this all at once. Don’t go and dump everything you have in your pantry. When you run out of an item, instead of buying it, just make it instead.
Homemade stock or broth is an entirely different world from the canned stuff. It’s also so easy to make, and you can use scraps! My secret is called a “bit bag” that I keep in the freezer – anytime I have leftover ends of carrot or celery or onions, in they go to the bit bag. When I’m ready to make stock, I just dump the bit bag into pot!
Stocks and Broth:
Whole Chicken Stock (Stovetop)
Overnight Leftover Chicken Stock (Crockpot)
Beef Stock (Stovetop)
Beef Broth (Crockpot)
Vegetable Stock (Stovetop)
Forget those cans of overly-salty soup you bring to work. Freeze one portion containers and heat it up for lunch – your taste buds will thank you!
Cream of Chicken Soup (perfect to use instead of that gloopy stuff in cans for casseroles)
Ina’s Chicken Soup (this makes a HUGE batch – perfect to freeze for those days when you’re under the weather)
Pumpkin Turkey Chili (freezes beautifully, and the pumpkin adds nutritional oomph.)
Sauces often taste better over time, and can be so simple to make – why not double your batch and freeze lots of it for future use? Even BBQ sauces take only a bit to whip up, but taste amazing.
Basic Tomato Sauce (This is such a versatile recipe that can be changed up depending on your mood. Freeze little portions for pizza sauce!)
Hot Sauce (USE GLOVES while making it! Trust me on this one…)
Beans are really simple to make, and they taste TOTALLY amazing compared to the canned stuff. They also freeze like a dream!
Pinto Beans (Crockpot)
Chickpeas (Crockpot) (Perfect for hummus!)
It is super-simple to whip up some great salad dressing, or even some tangy mayo. Most of these won’t freeze well, but they do last quite a while in the fridge – and without those pesky preservatives.
I love making my own snacks. If I don’t make my own, I will default to the least healthy (read: Doritos) option. Homemade crackers are bliss, homemade granola totally customizable. Give it a whirl!
Forget that stop at Starbucks for breakfast – try these muffins and breads. They freeze well and are well worth the effort.