Kitchens Rule the Home

 In Healthy Lifestyle, Personal Health Coach

Just ‘how’, you ask, can kitchens rule the home? First, let’s take a look at what functions our kitchens have in our lives:

  •      It is the one room of the house that is used most frequently by every member of the household, guests and even visitors.
  •      It has the ability to become the main gathering and socializing point in your home.
  •      It is the room where we are most likely start our and end our day.
  •      Most of us have a phone space or possibly a desk in the kitchen…long phone chats, doing the accounts or making a shopping list.
  •      It is our food storage room.
  •      We plan, prepare and serve meals and snacks which can take an average of  4 hours a day for at least one or more family members. That doesn’t include clean up time.
  •      It is typically ‘in or nearby’ the centre of the house; thereby allowing ease of access for several rooms of the house.
  •      If you enjoy cooking, have a large family or cook for others then you will spend even more time there.

It is the multipurpose room… the potting shed, the laundry, the sewing room, the arts and crafts room, the study area, eating area; and let’s not forget what other people are using the kitchen for with their hobbies or needs.

Think of the time spent in this room for additional activities – hours and hours a week per person. Why is this important to understand? Because the total functionality of the kitchen is vital to you and your family if you want to  stay on track with healthy eating patterns.

Is it really a wonder why so many people have a propensity to nibble their way through a day or evening? It is through this easy access that habits are developed to get food anytime it’s desired; not just when we physically need to refuel ourselves.

Your food lifestyle requirements are based on:

  • The size of your family, your social life and work life
  • the likes, dislikes and favourites for each household member
  • spontaneous entertainment foods
  • quick meals when time is precious
  • the general or base of food staples for most meals
  • lunch and snack foods for kids or when you take a bag lunch
  • excess foods when entertaining
  • how often you shop, weekly or every two weeks; or maybe you shop every day or two
  • storage space

The physical organizational aspect of your kitchen throws more light on what is eaten and when. Let’s take a look around the kitchen:

  • Are there foods on your countertops?  Cookie jar, candy dish, chip bag next to the fridge?
  • Where is your full fresh fruit bowl?  A centrepiece for the dining room table that is rarely used?
  • Do you have visible open shelving where you store foods?
  • Inside your cabinets do you have foods mixed with your dishes on nearly every shelf?
  • Are your snack (high calorie or high fat) foods at eye level or within easy reach for your children?
  • Don’t forget to check out the refrigerator and freezer regarding what and where foods are stored on the shelves.
  • If you have a food pantry… again, view what and where your less healthy foods are placed. And a side note…it is always a good idea to look at it from a child’s perspective.

There is a ‘common myth’ that it is less expensive to eat quick/fast foods rather than expensive ‘healthy foods’; but that is so untrue!  It need not be difficult or expensive to have a healthy kitchen (with  your help) that rules your health and the health of your family.  Some quick tips to get your kitchen to rule your home in a healthy way:

  • Eliminate outdated or rarely used foods.
  • Organize your food stuffs by category.  This makes for easier food planning and less doubling up on purchases.
  • Clean out cupboards and organize so that any snack foods are on the highest shelves.
  • Better yet put them in a plastic box with lid and store on the top shelves.  Out of sight is out of mind.
  • Do the same for your refrigerator and pantry.
  • Plan your meals so you can plan your purchases.  Many people overspend because they have no idea what they need or want for the week.
  • Look for healthier alternatives in snack foods.
  • Buy the right amount to use up in the week so that you don’t have food go to waste…especially fresh produce.
  • Learn how to store foods properly.
  • Keep meat and veggie bins in the fridge clean at all times.  This reduces spoilage and therefore keeps costs down.
  • Purchase from farmers markets for the freshest foods. They taste better, last longer and are generally less expensive then grocery stores.
  • If you have to buy more than you would use in a week, then FREEZE the rest.
  • Cut up veggies and fruits for quick snacks, they will last 3-4 days if stored correctly.
  • Don’t waste leftovers by leaving them in the fridge until they grow hair.  Immediately freeze in portion size containers for those days you’re too tired cook.  It will save you buying frozen quick meals and they are healthier too!
  • The next best to fresh is frozen so buy frozen veggies to have on hand.  You can learn to blanch your own veggies and freeze for even more savings.
  • Think about starting your own garden, especially for herbs.  They can be costly and will go off quickly as you rarely use the entire amount in one week.
  • Get proper storage containers for refrigeration and freezing foods.
  • If time is precious and tight for you – cook meals in advance and freeze.

These are just some of the things that will keep you healthier, happier, and within budget.

I love saying My Kitchen Rules the Home.  If someone complains…I can say “blame the kitchen”!

As always I look forward to your suggestions and comments.

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