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Pantry makeovers shape waistlines, menus

Try these pantry-makeover tips to help spring your family into healthy eating this season.

With spring on the horizon and one in three Americans concerned about serving foods with fat, it is prime time to pare down pantries for warm-weather cooking.

Swapping out winter staples to stock up on lighter foods and seasonings can jump start healthier eating and get you into shape for your favorite swimsuit.

To get the pantry focused on healthier spring fare, take a look at snack foods, condiments and canned goods.

For starters, stock up on baked varieties of potato or tortilla chips instead of fried.

Exchange candy bars and cookies for dried fruits and nuts. When you want butter flavor without fat, try a butter substitute.

Instead of keeping cream-based soups on hand, replace them with broth-based alternatives such as chicken noodle or vegetable.

To help keep spring eating light and tasty, here are additional suggestions for slimming down the pantry and fridge:

Replace spices and flavorings every 18 months to two years to ensure full flavor and potency.

Replace higher-fat foods such as cheese with low-fat versions;

Replace butter or margarine with butters substitutes, such as non-stick cooking sprays, substitute sprinkles and sprays.

Exchange half the fat used in pancakes and breads for pureed fruit, such as applesauce.

Fill your pantry with fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks instead of chips.

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