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SPRING CLEANING EDITION
Contributed by Mandy Enright, MS, RDN, RYT
March is here, and spring is right around the corner. That means it’s time for spring cleaning. Let’s take a look at how to give yourself and your home a healthy, clean makeover just in time for spring.
Admit it — you overstocked on food items at the beginning of COVID. We all did. Hopefully, those goods got used. But if there are items that have been in your pantry or freezer for over a year, it may be time to either purge them or come up with a plan for using them. Time to Assess, Cook, or Donate.
The rule of thumb when it comes to food storage is FIFO – First In, First Out, which means to use your oldest items first. One good habit to get into is labeling food items when you store them in your pantry, fridge, or freezer. It is really easy to lose track of how long items have been living in your home.
Regarding if items are safe for consumption, canned items are essentially good forever as long as the cans aren’t bulging, rusted, leaking, or dented along the top or side seams. They may lose some flavor over time, but they are still safe to eat, even if past the expiration date. Items in the fridge or freezer have a shorter timeline. This handy guide can help you determine if an item is worth keeping or letting go: https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts
Cook With It!
If the items are still safe for consumption, go ahead and cook with them! Set a goal this month of making the majority of your meals from items already available in your home. Create a meal plan that uses those items you have in excess or maybe haven’t tried yet. Remember to take freezer items out a few days ahead of time to defrost in your fridge. Get started with these easy ideas:
- Pasta night with white beans and veggies cooked in tomato sauce
- Stir fry with frozen veggies and chickpeas tossed with low-sodium soy sauce over rice
- Whole grain salad bowl with canned or frozen veggies, canned tuna or salmon, and dressing
- Soup made from broth, frozen or canned veggies, and beans
- Check out the Salmon Cake recipe shared below!
If you truly do not feel you will use the items in your pantry, consider donating them. And yes, you can donate expired nonperishable food items if the packages or cans do not appear damaged or harmful in any way. Make food donations to:
- Food Pantries and Banks
- Local Collections, such as your grocery store or a local business
- Food Rescues (many will even pick up from your home!)
To find your local food bank, visit: https://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank
Clean Your Diet
With the pressure of a “New Year, New You” over, now is a good time to take an assessment of your eating habits. A few things to ask yourself:
- Are you eating at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day?
- Are you drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day?
- Are you incorporating more high fiber foods (items with at least 3g fiber per serving)?
- Are you limiting purchasing or eating “junk” foods?
- Are you cooking more meals at home?
If you answered “No” to most of these questions, this could be a good opportunity to clean up your diet by making some small changes. Pick ONE of the above items to focus on each week this month.
Cleaning for Calories
If you feel like you are sitting more than ever these days, you’re not alone. With so many people working from home this year, there have been fewer reasons to get moving in our days. Which is why it’s important to be intentional with adding breaks and movement throughout your work day.
Did you know that by multitasking your spring cleaning with movement, you can burn the following calories:
- 30 minutes of vacuuming = 99-166 calories (add some dancing or lunges for added intensity!)
- 30 minutes of washing dishes = 187-200 calories
- 30 minutes of changing the bed sheets = 187-200 calories
- 30 minutes of hand washing your car = 135-200 calories
- 30 minutes of raking leaves = 120-178 calories (bagging the leaves could double this!)
- 30 minutes of mowing using a push mower = 135-200 calories
- 30 minutes of weeding = 135-200 calories
NOTE: These numbers are based on a body weight of 125-200 pounds.
How will you be Spring Cleaning this month?
RECIPE CORNER: SALMON CAKES
1 ½ cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 (7-ounce) can wild salmon, drained, picked over and flaked
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons drained capers, coarsely chopped
1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced
⅛ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 450°F. Partially mash potatoes in a bowl with a fork until they begin to hold together. Add salmon, egg white, mayonnaise, capers, scallion, salt and pepper. Shape the mixture into 4 cakes, each about ½ inch thick.
Heat oil in an ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the salmon cakes and cook until browned on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully turn the cakes over with a spatula and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until heated through and golden brown on the second side, 5 to 7 minutes.
NOTES: Swap the salmon for canned tuna or crab meat.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: Serving size: 2 cakes; 323 calories; protein 24g; carbohydrates 31g; dietary fiber 2.5g; sugars 0.6g; fat 12.6g
Recipe Source: https://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/248105/salmon-cakes/
Mandy Enright MS, RDN, RYT, is a Registered Dietitian, Yoga Instructor, and Corporate Wellness Expert, as well as main content contributor for Wellness Concepts. Mandy is a featured presenter, both virtually and onsite near her home in Neptune, NJ.
Tag(s): Corporate Wellness Newsletters
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