Lose Weight & Get Fit – Vol. 3
Lose Weight & Get Fit – Vol.3
Planning and Preparing Your Healthy Kitchen
In Lose Weight & Get Fit – Vol. 3, we deal with Planning and Preparing Your Healthy Kitchen. When looking at change we need to look at the areas in which there will be the greatest impact. Living in clutter, chaos or calamity will impact your health goals. When losing weight or just getting healthier, planning and preparing your healthy kitchen can really reduce the stress of change and can be highly motivating and supportive in the long run.
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 and 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; which doesn’t include clean up time.
It is typically ‘in or nearby’ the centre of the house; thereby allowing ease of access from 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 constant and easy access that habits are developed enabling 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 favorites for each household member
- Spontaneous entertainment foods
- Quick meals when time is precious
- The general base of food staples for most meals
- Lunch and snack foods for kids or when you take a bag lunch
- Seasonal and holiday tradition foods
- 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 counter-tops? Cookie jar, candy dish, chip bag next to the fridge?
- Where is your full fresh fruit bowl? A centerpiece 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.
Some quick tips to get your kitchen to rule your home in a healthy way:
- First and most important – clear the clutter from cupboards, drawers, buffets, pantry.
- Remove and bin broken, chipped, cracked or non used dishes.
- Utensils overflowing your drawers and counter tops? How many of each utensil do you have? What do you actually use? Put one of every type of utensil that you really use in the drawer and put the rest in a box. What is not used in the box within 60 days can be binned or given away.
- A healthy kitchen requires you to eliminate outdated or rarely used foods.
- Organize your food stuffs by category. This makes for easier food planning and less doubling up on purchases.
- Select 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 to have on hand.
- Buy the right amount of food to use up in the week so that you don’t have food go to waste…especially fresh produce.
Eating healthy is not expensive:
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.
Learn how to store foods properly.
- Learn when to use paper, plastic or glass to keep foods fresh or to last longer.
- What foods to place on shelves, refrigerate or in storage bins.; and in and out of direct light.
- How to wrap and freeze foods.
- 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 large grocery stores.
- If you have to buy more food 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 when 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 as they can be quite 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 a few days 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 dares to complain…I can say “blame the kitchen”!
Essentials In Life Wellness Centre