Clean Eating: Clean Out The Pantry

posted in: Nutrition | 0

Now that you know what it is, you need to make a plan of attack. And the first way to do that is by cleaning out your pantry and to go shopping.

Let’s first start with cleaning out the pantry. There are a couple of  ways of doing this:

  1. You can eat up all the things that don’t work with the program, just so you feel like you’re not wasting food.
  2. You can just “clean house” and give away everything that doesn’t work with the program.
  3. You can just do a little bit of both: get rid of all the junk food, but keep a food things that are kindda on the line of clean and not clean.
  4. You can cycle through certain items each week.

It doesn’t matter how you to do it, you just need to make sure that everything you buy from here on out is considered clean. And you need to eventually (all at one time, or at some future date) get rid of everything that is not.

So what do you have in the pantry? Let’s take a look.

Whole Grains

Whole grains can be easily substituted for the non-whole grain variety. The trick is to make sure it says 100% whole ___ whatever and that it has a few ingredients. You want to get rid of your white pasta and pick up 100% whole wheat pasta. Bread and buns are just like pasta: 100% whole grains or 100% whole wheat. Look for Steel cut Oats instead of regular oatmeal. Substitute brown rice for white rice. (Make sure you pay attention to how long brown rice cooks, it takes longer than white rice. If you’re baking, substitute whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry four (which is milled a little finer) and you should be able to bake most of your recipes.

Here are a few other great grains you should try adding to your meals: Quinoa, Barley, Millet, Farro, Amaranth, Buckwheat, and Kamut. Most of these I’m still trying to work on adding to my meals, especially in ways that my family likes them. But, I hope to get some to find some family-friendly recipes soon.


Guess what? You are in luck! All beans are on our list. They are a great source of protein and complex carbs. And are from either a can or dried. Some good ones to try: black beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and northern beans.

Packaged Rice and Pasta Kits

These do not fall into “clean eating”. I’m not sure what nutritional value they actually have, I’m sure some, but most have been stripped of anything worth eating. Plus there’s all kinds of added salt and artificial flavors. You can learn how to make your own rice seasonings that taste great on brown rice.

Canned Veggies

This is definitely something that you might want to make your own personal decision,. I do think that there are times that canned veggies could come in handy: soups, for example. But I also think that they are not technically on the “clean eating” list. I have found, after eating a lot more fresh veggies, that the canned veggies taste awful and would try to avoid them. I do like canned tomatoes though in my meals, so that may be one thing I might keep on hand. Other than, I’m going to try to go for fresh or maybe frozen veggies.

Baking Ingredients

By no means does “clean eating” mean you have to give up your treats. There are great ways for you to have an occasional snack. Let’s go over a few sweeteners that you might want to keep on hand: honey, sucanat, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, stevia, and agave nectar. You can probably use one or more of these to sweeten your coffee and to curb your sweet tooth. Also, if you need some chocolate, Dark chocolate is the way to go.


Yay! Nuts are good! These are a great healthy fat. So keep them on board.

Chips, Crackers, and Cookies

There’s only one way to break it to you: these are definitely not on the list! I remember Jillian Michaels saying once: you know there’s a problem if you have cookies that will still be good a year from now. And I would have to agree. The truth is, there isn’t any nutritional value in any of these. I do know that this one was hard for me, only because my kids like crackers and fishies for snack time. I’m working on cycling them out and getting them used to eating a different variety of snacks.

Candy and Granola Bars

Both of which ill probably not fall under “clean eating”. There might be some exceptions to granola bars, but your best bet would be to just make your own so you know exactly what your eating.

Now let’s take a look at your refrigerator:


The only thing you should be drinking is water! However black coffee and tea could be added. But don’t put in all the extras. Believe me, that Starbucks coffee has so many things in it that you can’t pronounce, you don’t want to even put it in your mouth. If drinking plain water is hard, try adding in some fruit or cucumber to make it easier to drink.


When it comes to dairy, this is a very debatable subject when it comes to clean eating. You can make substitutions like unsweetened Almond Milk, or you can pay a little bit closer attention to labels. Look for low or non-fat yogurt and cottage cheese. Watch your yogurt though because it’ll have extra/added ingredients, like sweeteners. Learn to use dairy sparingly and you won’t have any problems. Rice milk, hemp milk, and hazelnut milk are all good substitutes too, as long as they are unsweetened.

Okay, I think that’s it for right now. Go through your pantry and decide what stays and what should go. And then decide on how you want to do that.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes.

Look for my other clean eating articles at: Clean Eating.