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4 Simple Steps to a Greener Pantry

Easy solutions for giving your pantry a healthy makeover for you and baby.

1. Out with the old, in with the green.
Before you start stocking up on new items for your pantry, first things first: Start cleaning. Wipe down surfaces and use baking soda to absorb any lingering odors. Get familiar with nontoxic and eco-friendly cleaning lines, like Seventh Generation, Ecover, Method, or Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. Are you a bit of a pack rat? Check expiration dates and toss out anything you haven’t used in a while to save on space.

2. Spice it up
Part of creating delicious meals is having a range of spices and herbs to choose from, so pick some fresh herbs at your local farmers’ market or grocery and use them to season your dishes whenever possible. Whatever you don’t use, dry out and save for later in a glass container. Spices tend to go stale after a few months, so the key is purchasing them in small amounts so you maintain the freshness and save a buck or two while you’re at it.

Must-have herbs for pregnancy include:
- Ginger: For morning sickness
- Peppermint: For morning sickness and gas
- Garlic: For boosting the immune system

3. Stock up on grains
Time to toss the processed, refined grain products and start embracing whole grains. White products (like white flour, white rice, pasta, and white bread) convert into simple sugars within 15 minutes of eating them, which can wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels. Foods made of whole grains are a much better option, since they’re loaded with B and E vitamins, magnesium, iron, and, of course, fiber.

Must-have grains include:
- Whole oats
- Brown rice
- Barley
- Whole-wheat products (i.e., bread, pasta, etc.)
- Wild rice
- Quinoa
- Millet

4. Rediscover your sweet tooth
Newsflash: Processed sugars are out; natural sweeteners are in. So let go of the refined white sugar and artificial sweeteners and try some natural sweeteners that are widely available, like raw agave nectar, stevia, date sugar, palm sugar, honey, and maple syrup. If you decide to cut back on sweeteners but still want to experience the sweet taste, try incorporating sweet-tasting foods, like sweet potatoes, roasted squash, or cinnamon.

--Latham Thomas

See More: Nutrition