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TIP OF THE DAY: Do A Pantry Makeover

Looking for better eating tips? Most households can use a pantry makeover, substituting less good-for-you ingredients to better-for-you ones. Today’s tips are from Mindy Kobrin, who teaches families how to shop smart, cook with joy and celebrate food seasonally. She calls her food philosophy Don’t Worry, Eat Happy.

Her top pantry makeover tips:

  • Pretty produce. As a family, create a colorful seasonal produce chart to hang in the pantry or on the fridge. It’s a great reminder of what’s delicious at any given time of the year. You’ll know when it’s best to buy artichokes, blueberries, peas and plums, for example.
  • Less boxes more bulk. Forget the instant oatmeal, breakfast bars, crackers and chips. Instead, go for things you can buy or make in bulk: nuts, popcorn kernels, homemade granola, turkey jerky, dried cranberries, chocolate chips and quinoa, for example.

    Nuts are a nutritious snack and recipe ingredient. Buy them in bulk. Photo courtesy The Peanut Shop.


  • Measure snacks. To make sure you’re not going overboard with the nuts, cranberries and other good-for-you snacks, use measuring spoons and cups. They ensure that you’re staying within a healthy calorie limit.

    Even when berries are in season, they may
    not be in your fridge. Frozen berries are an
    easy substitute. Photo courtesy

  • Keep snacks on view. Keep bulk snack products in glass canisters so that everyone can see what’s available to nosh on. Remember, we often eat with our eyes.
  • Grow your own. Consider growing your own salad bowl, even if you’ve only got a sunny window. Growing your own leafy greens is both delicious and fun. You’ll always have a veggie in the house, and it’s so much cheaper than salad in a bag.
  • Plant your own herbs. Fresh herbs are the best way to add great flavor and nutrition to everything you cook, with almost no calories. Consider chives, cilantro, flat leaf parsley and rosemary.
  • Use healthier oils. Swap out vegetable oil and shortening for healthier options like canola oil, extra virgin olive oil and peanut oil. Here are the healthiest oils.
  • Look for more nutritious canned and boxed foods. Canned beans, tuna and whole wheat pasta are excellent pantry staples that turn into easy lunch and dinner dishes.
  • Fab frozen foods. Frozen berries and edamame are true lifesavers! Grab a bunch of berries for a quick breakfast smoothie or thaw some edamame for a healthy afternoon snack.

    For additional food and entertaining tips from Mindy Kobrin, visit


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