Setting your Kitchen for a healthy lifestyle

To make living a healthy lifestyle simple, it helps to optimize the places around you. Let’s focus on your kitchen – the biggest factor in whether you stick to your nutrition goals.

With a few steps, you can get your kitchen to a point where it will be a motivator and tool for your healthy lifestyle.

Setting up your kitchen involves getting the environmental cues right, like what food is easily accessible, having what you need to cook on-hand, and making sure you’re making efficient use of your space. 

You may want to spread this task over the whole week or even give yourself two or three weeks to complete it all. Find what works for you.


The Audit

If your kitchen looks anything like mine used to, it’s intimidating to think of revamping your storage and organization solutions. Trust me; it’s worth it to spend a little time organizing your kitchen.

It will set you up for success and make everything quicker and easier.

Start with an audit. Take a good look at your counters, cabinets, pantry, freezer, and fridge.

Remove the junk from those places — that means junk food, old food, gunky storage containers, and the what-not that’s collected in your kitchen that you never use.

If the food is sealed and still good, put it in a pile to donate. The same goes for storage containers and the what-not that are still nice and usable…for someone else.

Donate the food to a local food pantry and the other stuff to your favorite charity.

Organizing Your Kitchen for Success

Our next step is to take one area at a time. Don’t get yourself into a situation where you’ve emptied the freezer, fridge, pantry, and cabinets all at once. It’s too much.

Pick your first area to attack – I recommend the counters. Whichever area you choose, be sure to take time to wipe it down while you’re there.

Counters

Move everything off the counters. Your kitchen will be more usable (and prettier) if you keep only the necessities on the counter. I recommend keeping the appliances you use daily or multiple times a week, like the coffee maker and toaster oven. 

Move the cookie jar and other junk food from the counter to somewhere out-of-sight. That is if you need to have them at all.

Place a bowl of fresh fruit, nuts in their shells, and other healthy snacks you want to eat more of in an attractive container on the counter. 

If you’re looking to make cooking more fun, you might want to get a speaker dock for your counter so you can play music while you cook!

Finally, how about a menu board? You can get a sweet little chalkboard for next-to-nothing at the craft store. Thinking through your weekly meals ahead of time is an easy way to keep to your plans and eliminate the “what’s for dinner tonight?” stress.

Cabinets

Do you have a Tupperware avalanche when you open your cabinet? Try using a CD rack for organizing all of those plastic container tops so they’re easy to grab. You probably still have one hanging around or can get one on the cheap.

Pantry, Fridge, and Freezer

These areas can be overwhelming to deal with. Make sure you do the audit step first to get rid of anything to donate or throw away. We want to only deal with the good stuff. 

Let’s start with storage since you might need to do some shopping. Remember to take your Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons!

You can also find storage solutions on Amazon. Clear containers are best for all of your storage needs. They can be glass, plastic, or even baggies. It’s easy to forget what you can’t see.

Here’s what you’ll use those containers for:

  • Pre-portioned snacks
  • Cut and prepped ingredients and produce
  • Pre-packed crockpot meals
  • Pre-packed smoothies
  • Pre-packed oatmeal and other on-the-go breakfasts
  • Bulk storage

Tape nutrition labels to the storage containers. That way, you get helpful storage without losing the benefit of having the package. It may also be helpful to write the date of purchase and/or expiration date on there.

Avoiding Waste

You’ve gone to the trouble to audit and organize, now let’s make sure you don’t waste food.

The best way to use your ingredients up is to follow the accounting principle, “first in, first-out” or FIFO.

This means that when filling your kitchen with items, place all the older foods to the front and the new ones in the back.

Be diligent about tossing the old items that you didn’t get to. It’ll happen even if you use FIFO since that’s life. Choose a day of the week to toss spoiled items. I do this the night before trash day to reduce the stink factor.


Here is another article to boost your Healthy Lifestyle.