She had decided to be hard-core this time. She usually just let herself run out of "bad" food, but 1/1/11 was different. She was pitching everything in her house that was unhealthy. Any unopened items would be donated to charity, but everything else was going in the trash. Her frugal side was struggling with this decision. "Really? The case of Frappacinos I just bought at Costco? They're so expensive!" So was her indulgent side. "How can I throw out this half-eaten box of Godiva chocolates my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas? It's madness!"
But toss them she did.
And she took a closer look at the everyday items she needed but knew were probably available in a healthier version. Like the canned vegetables. "Fresh or frozen is better," she said out loud with conviction, as she added them to the giveaway pile.
"What, honey?" her husband, Joe, called from the living room.
"Oh, nothing," Katy blushed. "Just cleaning out the cabinet like I talked about last night."
Katy rolled her eyes at his clearly automatic response. Joe was watching football. He tried to pay attention, God love him, but he was in bowl-game heaven. She could have told him she was practicing a striptease and gotten the same reaction. She smiled as she thought to herself, "Enjoy it now, sweetie, 'cause there won't be much time for football next season. Assuming all goes as planned."
She turned her attention back to the pantry. It was one of her favorite elements of their new house. She knew that seemed silly, but their starter home had had a galley kitchen with so few cabinets she had to store her Crock Pot and baking pans in the basement. She actually had empty cabinets at the new house, there were so many of them. And the pantry... well, suffice it to say that the people who had built the home must have known that someday she would live here, because it's exactly how she would have designed it herself. The pantry's front double doors had shelves on the backs. Inside, there was a second set of hung shelves that swung open in front of the main, grounded shelving area. It had all the space of slide-out shelving, but without the frustration of items falling off behind or getting lost in the expansive depth. She loved it. And it was chock-full of items that needed to be health-ified.
"Let's see, what's next..." she mumbled under her breath. Bread. She knew that was safe. She'd stopped buying food with high-fructose corn syrup in it awhile ago. Though Joe grumbled about the whole wheat kind, she had persuaded him that he would get used to it. He wasn't a big bread-eater anyway. One of those people who are unaffected by the addictive power of carbs. He could buy a bag of cookies and only eat one. One. She could do that, too. One bag, anyway.
Crackers. Three kinds - half of sleeve of buttery Ritz, and brand-new boxes of original Wheat Thins and Wasa crackers. Trash, donate, keep.
Peanut butter. Sigh. Katy knew this was going to be painful. She loved extra-crunchy Jif. She knew she should switch to the organic stuff, but dang it, she liked that hydrogenated oil. That sounded gross, but really, if that's all that was in there, maybe it wasn't so bad. She checked the label. "Made from roasted peanuts and sugar." So far, so good. Well, at least straight-up sugar's better than HFCS. "Contains 2% or less of: molasses, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils (rapeseed and soybean), mono- and diglycerides, salt." Two percent or less? That's nothing, really. How many ounces are in this thing - 28? Two percent of that is only... half an ounce. Which is about half a serving. Ok, well yeah, that's a bit much. She chucked it in the trash with a sigh.
Surprisingly, it only took about 30 minutes to go through the cabinets and refrigerator. Katy was just finishing up when half-time started. Joe whistled his way toward the kitchen.
"What the...?" He stopped at the doorway when he saw the stack of food in a box on the table. "Why is my brand new bag of Cheetos over here?" he asked, suspiciously.
"Because, baby," Katy replied, carrying the last of the junk food to the garbage. "We're going to start making healthier choices about what we eat." She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek.
"We are, huh? I don't remember agreeing to that. That was all you last night in your 'We've got to make some small changes now, so we're ready for the big change next year' mood. I'm not changing anything, woman." The twinkle in his eye belied the mocking tone he'd taken.
Katy giggled. "Don't worry, babe. You don't have to do anything. Just don't go grocery shopping without me."
He flashed her an impish smile, snatched the Cheetos bag and ran around the corner toward the staircase.
"Joe!" Katy called after him, incredulous. "Joseph Martin Stephenson, you get back here right this minute with those Cheetos!"
Cackling, he leapt up the steps two at a time. He paused at the landing and looked at her tenderly. "Well, there's one thing you don't need to change. You've already perfected your 'Mommy' voice."
Katy's frown softened with the anticipation of answering to a new name this year.
This post was inspired by the prompt to grab something out of your pantry and write a short piece - using all the words in the ingredients.