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Health & Wellness

How To Clean Out Your Pantry For A Healthier Diet (15 Items To Toss & Keep!)

Written by Shelby Torrese

If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned out your pantry—now is the time! Here are some helpful tips for a healthier diet and a list of items to toss and keep!

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As a Nutrition Coach, people always ask me how to stop eating x, y, z. People’s vices range from chips to chocolate to candy to pretzels, and just about everything in between. The answer is so simple, people almost can’t handle it. Do. Not. Keep. It. In. The. House!!

Seriously, it’s that easy. 

When you have things around that are tempting, you’re going to be tempted! So, toss the temptations, and also toss anything that isn’t good for your goals. Today I’m going to give you some of my favorite tips for cleaning out your pantry, as well as 15 common pantry items and whether you should keep them or toss them! Following this simple list will help you have a clean, healthy kitchen for you to get started fresh with. Your surroundings are important, and making sure your kitchen is stocked with only good things is key to your success! 

Tips For Cleaning Out Your Pantry

Before you start getting into the nitty-gritty of your pantry and kitchen items, there are a few quick ways to determine if something needs to go. First, always remember to:

  • Check the expiration date
  • Toss anything you haven’t used in 6 months
  • Get rid of anything with mold
  • Throw out anything you or your family don’t like
  • Toss anything that has a leak or broken seal
  • Get rid of anything that smells or tastes stale

After you’ve gotten those items out of the way, we can get into the top 15 toss or keep items!

clean eating grocery list

15 Common Pantry Items To Toss Or Keep

When creating a wholesome kitchen, you want to make sure you’re not hoarding any items that could be sabotaging your health goals. After following this list, your pantry (and you!) will be in great shape!

1. Cereal


It’s best to toss cereal. Most cereal options are loaded with unnecessary sugar and additives. If you like to have carbs and crunch in the morning, swap your cereal for a fresh sourdough loaf. You can top it with protein-rich eggs, healthy fats like avocado slices, or grass fed butter. I promise you won’t miss your cereal after a few days of fueling your body with real food. 

2. Oatmeal


Definitely keep your oats. As long as they’re plain, steel-cut oats, they’re A-ok. Do toss any oats that are prepackaged with sugar, unnatural flavors, and additives. Simple oats are a great ingredient to have on hand. Not only are oats filling, but they’re quick and easy to make. Plus, you can dress them up sweet or savory, depending on your mood. 

3. Chips


Toss the chips! You know you can never have just one. Plus, most chips are cooked in vegetable or seed oils, which are inflammatory. They can cause bloating, swelling, and more cravings. Instead, replace your chips with a healthy mix of nuts. They offer the same crunch, and much more vitamins and minerals. Plus, you can add in dried fruit, dark chocolate, spices, or coconut shavings to change them up. 

4. Nuts 


Nuts are a big yes. Just like mentioned above, they make for a great replacement when you have a craving for something crunchy and salty, or even crunchy and sweet. They’re packed with healthy fats, and are so portable. Plus, kids love them too!

5. Vegetable Oil


Toss! Vegetable oils are inflammatory, meaning they cause inflammation in the body. Inflammation can look like redness of the skin, bloated stomach, swollen joints and extremities, and that’s just external issues! Swap your vegetable oils for extra virgin olive oil and/or avocado oil. They’re both much healthier, and can withstand higher smoke points. 

6. Rice 

KEEP (sort of…)

This one can be tricky. You always want to make sure you rinse your rice, no matter what kind you buy. It’s ok whether you like brown or white rice, however you definitely want to toss any pre-mixed rice options. These are things like pre seasoned rice, pre made rice, anything that’s not just dry, plain rice. Rice always needs to be rinsed before using, and so there’s no point in buying pre-spiced rice if you’re just going to rinse it off!

7. Canned Vegetables


Toss the canned veggies. Most cans are lined with BPA, and leek into the food inside. Instead, if you don’t want to or can’t buy fresh produce, opt for frozen. Frozen vegetables are just as convenient and affordable, but are generally better for you. Frozen fruits and vegetables are simply washed and frozen, whereas canned options are sitting in high-sodium liquids.

pantry cleanse

8. Potatoes


Potatoes are great, definitely keep them! Try to go for more colorful options, like sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes, and yams. The more colorful they are, the more vitamins and minerals they have to offer. Pro tip: Curb the carb spike by always pairing your potatoes with a protein.

9. AP Flour


Toss! Instead, opt for whole wheat flour, coconut flour, almond flour, or cassava flour. All of these options can be utilized in place of all-purpose (AP) flour. AP flour contains bleached flour, and usually a range of additives like gums and fillers. I assure you there are plenty of recipes that use the previously mentioned flours instead of AP flour.

10. Nut Butter


Nut butters can definitely stay! No matter which nut butter you like best, make sure to read the ingredients and make sure the only ingredient is the nut of choice (with the option of salt!). Stay away from nut butter with vegetable and seed oils, like palm oil, sunflower oil, and other inflammatory oils. 

11. Pasta


Pasta is an easy way to gain unwanted weight. Yes, it makes for an easy dinner, but there are plenty of quick dinner recipes that don’t include pasta. Toss the pasta and swap for zucchini or spaghetti squash noodles, cauliflower rice, or other vegetable-based dishes.

12. Dried Beans & Lentils


If you’ve never used dried beans and lentils, prepare to make the switch! They’re much better for you than canned beans and lentils, for similar reasons as canned vegetables. Plus, with dried beans and lentils, you resoak them (sprout them) which helps make them easier to digest. They’re also bagged and not stored in high-sodium liquid, or a BPA-lined can.

13. Mayonnaise 


Get rid of the mayonnaise! Sorry, but it’s got to go. Mayo is just an additive-packed fat source, and not the good kind. There are so many ways to replace mayonnaise, there’s no need to keep it on hand. I replace mayo with everything from avocado, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and more. 

14. Collagen


Keep, keep, keep the collagen!! Collagen is a must in my kitchen. Particularly Super Youth collagen, which is packed with anti-aging protein, hair and nail healthy vitamins and minerals, and is so convenient to take on the go. Super Youth collagen comes in a variety of flavors (and even unflavored!), so you never get tired of it! Add it into water alone, into smoothies, into baking recipes, coffee, the options are endless! 

15. Soft Drinks


Lose the soft drinks! They’re packed with unnecessary sugar, and only make you crave more sugar. Drinking one soda can be the equivalent of eating three candy bars! Trust me, just throw the soda away. Instead, sip on delicious Super Youth collagen, cold-pressed juice, sparkling water, or tea. 

summer recipes

About The Author

Shelby Torrese

Nutrition, Movement & Meditation Coach

Shelby Torrese is a wellness enthusiast (and matcha fanatic!) from Miami, FL. She attributes her love of movement to her mom, a personal trainer, and her love of food to her dad, a farmer. She studied creative writing in college while getting her yoga certification, and went on to pursue fitness and nutrition in grad school. Her go-to advice is, “Balance,” and she is a firm believer that the ocean can cure just about everything.

  • Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher
  • NASM Certified Nutrition Coach
  • M.S. in Human Performance


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