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Are you ready to change your diet for the better but your cabinets are full of junk food and sugary snacks?  Is the thought of cleaning out your pantry making you feel overwhelmed?  Well, don't worry – I'm here to help!

Making the decision to improve your diet is a huge step in the process of improving your health in general.  It takes courage to step forward with that big black trash bag and getting rid of all of those "not so good for you" foods that have been collecting dust in your cabinets.  Best of all, if you donate your unopened food to your local food bank, you'll be helping to feed families in need.

So, grab your trash bag and old box and head for your pantry because the cleaning is about to begin!

Cleaning out your pantry should be done in three phases:
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The first phase is a blitz attack on all-out junk food.  That means pulling every bit of food that could be considered "bad for you" out of your cupboards and pantry, such as candy, cookies, soda, chips, etc.  Throw out anything that is open or expired and donate everything else.

You will see a huge a difference in your diet by just doing this phase of the clean out.  These junk foods are just empty calories that clog your arteries and pack on the pounds without quenching your nutritional needs.
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The second phase is where you search for those "hidden" junk foods.  This will be a much slower process than the first but just as important so make sure that you have the time. 

First of all, go through your pantry and read each of the nutritional labels.  Is something too "fatty" to go along with your diet?  Maybe you're following Weight Watchers and the cheese crackers you thought were on program are not. 

It's not just the labels you need to review but also the list of ingredients.  Federal law requires manufacturers to list ingredients on their package – starting the one that the product contains the most of and going down from there.  If you find sugar, any type of fat, or salt listed in the first few ingredients (meaning there's a lot of them in there), that product probably isn't that good for you. 

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The third phase is to actually get rid of the junk food.  It's one thing to toss your junk food into a trash bag but it's another thing to actually place the bag in the dumpster or donation box.  That bag of bad food is going to be the albatross around your neck until it's out of your house so be quick about its disposal.  Take the bag to the dumpster or the trunk of your car the moment you are done cleaning out your pantry.  That way, it is out of sight and you won't be apt to retrieve anything to snack on that night.

Now that the junk food is out if your house, it's time to restock the pantry with food that fits your new diet.  Whatever you do, do not allow yourself to bring the junk food back into your house.  Even better, stay out of the cookie and chip aisle until you are used to your new eating regimen.