Making smart food choices is easier when your kitchen is part of your support team
As we move deeper into January, don’t get discouraged if you’ve slipped on your New Year’s resolutions to eat more healthfully or lose weight. Instead, make reaching those goals easier to accomplish by getting the right cooking and dining setup to form new habits. There are many things you or your designer can do in your kitchen to make it easier to choose healthy options. Here are some tips that can help you create new habits and stick to them.
1. Keep Fresh Herbs and Spices Handy
Herbs make healthy food much more savory and flavorful, which will help you cut down on less healthy choices like salt and butter. Plus, they enliven the kitchen with their lovely green leaves and interesting textures.
2. Enjoy Making Pretty Still Lifes out of Your Produce
This sounds silly, but it works. Put out a favorite platter, fruit bowl or cake stand and play with arranging your produce. It will inspire you to keep the kitchen stocked with an array of colorful fruits and vegetables, and they’ll always be the first thing you see when entering the kitchen for a snack.
3. Play Favorite Tunes While You Cook
Have a radio, docking station or speakers set up so you can enjoy catching up on a favorite podcast or playlist while you cook.
And once you’re enjoying what you’re listening to, try to get several things done once you’re on a cooking roll so you’re prepped for the week’s menu plan. Put the quinoa in the slow cooker while baking sweet potatoes, whip up mini quiches in muffin tins and cook spaghetti squash. Putting in an hour will ensure that you’ll have plenty of healthy options that are ready to go.
4. Add Other Electronic Devices You Like to Use in the Kitchen
If you like to whisk along with your favorite cooking shows, install a TV in the kitchen so you can keep up with your favorite chefs.
And if you love to keep track of new recipes on the internet, make an electronic tablet station a part of your kitchen. Place it near a plug where it can be charged and the cord will be out of harm’s way.
Keep your healthy items front and center and make low-cal snacks easy to find. Hide your chocolate stash so you don’t get tempted by seeing it every time you open the pantry or food cabinet door.
Making tea is a wonderfully relaxing ritual. Sometimes the scent and warm comfort of tea can waylay the urge for a junk food snack. A good new habit is to have a special teatime break in the afternoon. To make this as easy as possible, store and organize the tea bags somewhere handy, and give your favorite teacups and saucers prime kitchen real estate. Keep the kettle ready to go on the stove.
Take everything out, give it a good cleaning, and keep the great food that you’ve made and the produce that needs refrigerating in the front at eye level. Use glass containers to keep the view to these items clear. Instead of creating a jumble in the veggie drawer, place fruit that needs refrigeration in a favorite bowl in the front — that way when you open the fridge for a snack, your eyes will go to it first.
8. Make Chopping a Breeze
Those who are new to cooking with lots of produce may not have a great chopping setup. Keep your cutting board and good knives handy, and find a spot where you can create a convenient chopping station — where you can swipe the seeds and stems right into the compost bin, sink or trash.
9. Make Sure Small Appliances Are Readily Available
Digging through a messy cabinet for the pieces of a smoothie maker or steamer, or having to bend down and get a food processor or slow cooker from a low cabinet, will discourage you from using them. Find spaces that make key small appliances convenient to use on a regular basis, even if it means adding some countertop clutter. If storing small appliances on a countertop bothers you, consider adding an appliance garage or other special cabinetry that allows easy access to small appliances.
Cooking requires a lot of standing, so have good support for your feet while you work. Keep your sneakers stashed in a drawer, closet or mudroom nearby. Or put an anti-fatigue mat where you tend to stand the most in the kitchen, such as in front of the sink or wherever you do prep work.
When an earlier version of this story was published, Houzz users added some great suggestions in the Comments. User PirateFoxy advised keeping a list of healthy foods that are ready to eat in the kitchen to make it easy to see the options. Using a chalkboard, a dry-erase board or a note on the fridge or snack cabinet is an easy way to do this.
The pros at CBH Architectschimed in with “Hide the cookies! Hide the booze!” and suggested putting all the cookies somewhere out of sight and relocating all the alcohol to a high cabinet that requires a step stool. Though I feel compelled to add, once the imbibing has commenced, do not perch atop a counter stool or climb any sort of step stool or ladder!
Share: These suggestions are just a starting point. Please share in the Comments the kitchen setup tricks that have.