A healthy kitchen is much easier than a new diet trend every month.
Whether you spend a majority of your life in your kitchen, or it’s a space you only visit occasionally, the key to a healthy home is a nourishing and organised pantry and fridge.
One of the most important things I do each week is schedule time to make sure I have easy snack and meal options prepped in my kitchen. If you want to live your life eating nourishing whole foods that will encourage your body to thrive, there are a few things you need to do.
First, cut the crap.
My recent stint in hospital saw my pantry filling up with sweet gifts from my beautiful well wishing friends. If there is ever a time to treat yo self it’s when you’re stuck in a room for 5 days with wires connected to you trying to figure out what’s happening to your heart, right? Wrong. My body needed to heal. As much as I loved the kindness from the people delivering Lindt chocolate and an abundance of dark chocolate coated almonds, it wasn’t going to benefit my health, so I sent them home with my husband and eventually they were in the rubbish (sorry friends!).
When making a commitment to your health, processed & sugar filled ‘food’ doesn’t have a place in your kitchen. Even if you think you’ll keep it as a treat for when you’re good, don’t. Get rid of it. Because if it’s there, you’re giving yourself permission to eat it. Then you might justify to yourself “I’m going to eat it eventually, may as well get it over with now” and end up with tummy cramps and sugar nightmares because of your slip up. The easiest way to avoid this is to simply not have it in your home. The world will not run out of your favourite treat. Throwing it in the bin is not the end of the universe. It’s also not a waste of food (thinking of all those starving children in Africa?) because what you will be ridding your kitchen of is not real food. It’s not benefiting you or your health.
Once the naughties are gone, organise your workspace.
Make it so that whenever you want to create a meal or prepare a snack, it’s easily done.
:: Keep the utensils you use often in an easy to reach place.
:: Make pots and pans accessible.
:: Remove clutter from your bench tops.
:: Display condiments you use often nicely on the bench. I keep coconut oil, salt, pepper and my spice mix out next to my stove as I use them with almost every meal.
:: Move that curry paste you used once a year ago to the back of the cupboard or throw it out. Don’t keep things you rarely touch in the way of healthy and frequently used jars and containers.
:: Have a container out when cutting up your veg so you can keep the scraps and peels in the freezer for when you make broth or stock.
Next up, shop and prepare.
I like to dedicate a weekend morning or afternoon to food prep. It means that through the week I’ll always have options to keep me eating well and I’ll never starve or eat something that I don’t feel like eating to tie me over.
Start with snacks. Write a list of foods you would love to have easily available to you, sweet and savoury. I like to wash and cut up fruits & vegetables (cut up carrot sticks and store them in a water filled container to keep them fresh), make raw bliss balls and blitz up a quick guacamole dip for carrot sticks in my Nutribullet. Divide some nuts and seeds into portion sized glad bags incase you need to grab something on the go.
I also like to wash spinach and lettuce and store them in containers so I can grab a handful for my morning smoothie or make a salad in minutes. You can cut up and wash vegetables like capsicum, broccoli and cauliflower to throw into a quick stir fry on nights you just don’t have time to cook.
When I have my weekly cook up, I’ll usually roast a chicken (or two), cook my sweet potato and kale frittata, make a batch of quinoa to keep in the fridge to bulk up salads, boil some eggs, throw some vegetables and broth into a big pot and make a huge soup to freeze, prepare overnight oats and put my morning smoothie ingredients into ziplock bags to freeze for quick breakfast options for me and my family.
Are you starting to see how easy it can be to have an abundance of good food ready to go? It’s become second nature to me and now my weekly meal prep takes only 2-3 hours, only 1 of which I’m actively in the kitchen chopping and washing. The rest is just time in the oven and things setting in the fridge.
My last tip for a healthy kitchen is to make it a happy, peaceful and welcoming environment.
If it’s somewhere you spend lots of time, invest in making it beautiful. Buy some flowers to brighten it up, have colourful delicious fruits in a bowl, put photos of your loved ones and inspirational quotes on the fridge.
Of course, before you eat, take a moment of gratitude. Let your body prepare for the meal and aid digestion by limiting your water intake during meals. Chew your food and be present for the people you’re eating it with.
If you want to take your food and nourishment habits to the next level - take a look at my Coaching Page to see if working with an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach would be something right for you and your beautiful body!