An Internal Pantry & Fridge Makeover

1. Clean Out

Start by removing anything from your pantry and fridge that you already know could wreak havoc on your health. Eliminate all products containing hydrogenated fats, refined carbohydrates such as white flour and white sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. Tomato products are best purchased in glass bottles. Swap out low fiber and sugary cereals for low sugar, high fiber cereals. Read labels on all processed foods you buy. Do not buy a product if you cannot pronounce the ingredients. 

When no unhealthy products reside behind the door of your pantry and fridge, you won't be tempted to stray in moments of weakness.

Now it’s time to replenish those shelves with healthy, nutritious foods, snacks, and beverages. Once you learn to eat nutritious, life-giving whole foods, you’ll never be the same. 

2. Go Shopping


is best whenever possible. Purchase meats and eggs marked antibiotic and hormone-free. Check the updated Dirty Dozen list at E WG . O R G . The fruits and vegetables listed are best purchased organically. Organic produce can be expensive, so it’s important to prioritize the worst offenders. 

Healthy oils

Unrefined and mechanically cold-pressed oils are a great source of essential fatty acids. Extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil are my personal favorites. 

Frozen berries & veggies

Green beans, broccoli and cauliflower are great add-ins for a smoothie or a quick meal. 

Natural nut butters

make the perfect sandwich spread and can be added to smoothies, power balls, and sauces. Choose nut butters without a lot of other added ingredients. 

Honey or Stevia

These natural sweeteners can replace sugar and artificial sweeteners. 

Unsalted Nuts and Seeds

provide fats, protein, fiber, and minerals. They add character to salads and stir fries, and are simply delicious as a snack. 


beans, peas, and lentils are all part of the legume family. They are high in fiber and protein. Enjoy with nuts, seeds, and whole-grain cereals. 

Staples to keep on hand

Spices, Braggs Liquid Aminos, raw apple cider vinegar, low sodium vegetable broth, hard shell tacos, brown rice, quinoa, millet, oatmeal, whole grain pastas, and canned Alaskan salmon. When your pantry is stocked with staples, you won’t have to put together a complete shopping list every time you go to the store. 

Shop seasonal

Eating in season ensures the food has been properly harvested, and it’s usually less expensive. Try to buy locally whenever possible. Feel free to add your own variety of condiments and frozen foods. 

3. Save on Prep Time 

Wash, precut, & chop

After unloading the groceries, prepare your fresh veggies before putting them in the refrigerator. 

Cook in bulk

Instead of making a different dinner and lunch every day, cook a big pot of soup and make five salads ahead. 

Plan ahead

I spend about four hours every Sunday afternoon cooking meals for the week. This way, I don’t have to think about what I’m going to make for dinner every evening. It’s ready to pop in the oven, and all I have to make is a fresh salad to go with it. 

Easy clean up 

After dinner, pack your lunch for the next few days so you only have to clean up once. 

Go!  Let the make-over begin! 


Butternut Squash & Eggplant Salad


1 medium butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, & cubed

1 medium eggplant, cubed

1 large red onion, peeled, halved, and quartered

4 Tablespoons avocado oil

½ cup vegetable broth

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or grated

½ teaspoon dried chili flakes - optional

2 medium tomatoes, diced*

1 teaspoon real-salt or pink Himalayan salt

Freshly crushed black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon paprika

½ cup cilantro, finely chopped**

½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon

Extra add ins:

½ cup de-stoned olives cut in half

1 cup chickpeas, cooked

*You can replace the tomatoes with 2 roasted peppers

**You can replace the cilantro with basil

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Oven roast the butternut squash, red onion, 2 Tablespoons avocado oil and broth until the butternut squash is cooked. Once cooked, set aside.
  3. Turn on the broiler. Spray the eggplant with avocado oil and season with ½ teaspoon of garlic and herb salt. Grill the eggplant, turning it regularly until soft, cooked and slightly caramelized. Set aside to cool.
  4. Add the last 2 Tablespoons of avocado oil to a pan and over medium heat, sauté the garlic, chili flakes and cumin seeds for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn the seeds. Remove from stove, add paprika, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the garlic mixture.
  5. Add the oven roasted butternut squash and eggplant, fresh herbs (and extra add-ins, if desired). Add extra salt and fresh lemon if your palate desires more.
  6. Lightly mix all the ingredients together and serve on a salad platter with a generous handful of fresh arugula.


Festive Energy Balls


2 cups gluten-free old fashioned oats

1 scoop AIM ProPeas or plant-based protein powder

½ cup flax meal

½ cup organic cranberries

½ cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped

1 cup peanut butter

2/3 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons melted coconut oil, if needed

  1. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Using your hands, form mixture into 1" balls.
  3. Arrange the balls on a baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. 
  4. Enjoy. 

Any leftover energy balls can be stored in a sealed glass container in the fridge until ready to eat.



is the founder of Alive Again LLC, wife of a missionary, and the mother of three beautiful daughters. She is a regular nutritionist guest consultant on WIS-TV, and her speaking engagements include corporate seminars and church groups. She would love for you to visit Leré’s Barn where she features healthy cooking demos, wellness educational classes, and custom corporate and group talks. For more information please visit

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