Templates by BIGtheme NET

Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

The right kitchen planning can help banish bad food habits and introduce a happy new attitude to cooking. Here’s how to get started

Houzz New Zealand Contributor. A design addict from way back, I can’t resist looking… More

For too long now we’ve been swamped with confusing messages about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, flummoxed about nutrients and ingredients, and taught to beat ourselves up about our eating habits. Fortunately, the conversations about food are getting saner, as smart dieticians and food writers push back against fashion-craze ‘diets’, pseudo science and negativity. Health research supports – surprise, surprise – easy ways to eat well that look a lot like how our grandparents ate.

While there will always be a place in our design books for sleek, architectural kitchens that look as if nobody ever cooks in them – let alone eats standing at the sink – real kitchens are for real people to enjoy real food, happily with no use of the G-word – guilt.

fc0a9ef79ff119cd74279d1c1a0e8be3 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Assess what eating means to you
Before you start saving pictures or lusting after light fittings, take a step back. Start your kitchen re-think with some self-examination about what food and cooking mean to you.

Do you ‘eat to live’, where simply eating – let alone cooking – is a chore that keeps you from doing the stuff you really love? Do you love to eat, and find that making and sharing your cooking is your favourite form of relaxation? Or do you fall somewhere in-between – a weekend bliss cook, but a mid-week hurried takeaway or easy meal due to a busy life of work/commute/family service?

57f898a7520abc506278dcbd595aac23 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Keep ‘real’ foods close at hand
The best, healthiest kitchen is one filled with healthy foods. As food writer Michael Pollan has famously neatly summarised, we simply need to do three things: eat food, not too much, mostly plants.

191f264b4ccb75d48e56b13f4db4a8a0 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Start your plan, then, with a kitchen that supports storing and sharing real food. Have as much storage for real foods – fresh fruits, vegetables, root crops, wholegrain and complex carbs – as you do for packaged goods.
Create a kitchen layout where the easiest foods to get to are the best for you; where the tools you need to support healthy eating are right at your fingertips, not in a hard-to-reach cupboard.

532c6ce9839645b525a358aac4c02846 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

If eating whole fruit or raw vegies is a chore – it’s not just little ones that are put off by ploughing through one big piece of fruit – create enticing snack trays of pre-cut fresh fruit and veg to keep in the fridge for snacking.

c4ec4e8c00ee7b0d40f7583e8576ba5d Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Make a pantry plan
Organising your pantry so the good foods you want to use most often are the ones most easily accessible, may mean a good clean-out and a fresh start. That doesn’t mean you have no crisps or biscuits, ever, it just means that the good foods, such as fruits, grains, pulses and tinned vegetables, dominate your shelves.

45cb3ba45204d0be58dc5ccedff4e4c2 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

A pantry that’s organised for kids to help themselves to healthy snacks means they’re less likely to sneak into the cupboard for crisps or sweets. In this crash pad for runaway teens in Venice Beach, California, designed by Charmean Neithart Interiors, even the snacks provided in the pantry help the kids restore their lives with fresh fruit and healthy snacks on hand.

How to organise the perfect pantry

f999106fc59bccf7d1ecd0ee7d1d6bf9 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Sit down for dinner
Humans evolved to eat food together, not on their own. Even if your midweek schedule means there’s no slot for the whole household to sit together for breakfast or dinner, create a space where sitting down is encouraged. While not everyone is eating together, there’s still a social buzz, which is good for the body and soul.

2c79147ec2ceb1a27d76549269d02a66 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Try to create one or two times a week when phones are put to one side and people talk while eating face to face. It doesn’t have to be dinner-party formal – a comb of the fridge for a stir-fry or pasta cook-up or shared takeaway will do.

Designing a kitchen that has space to gather around the cook while everyone is sharing food and conversation will create a great, healthy environment for the family. Plus, even clean-up and dish-washing becomes a social event.

338785ec80b94fa2b6e2784dc65b867a Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Grow your own
Make a space in the kitchen for growing your own food. If your kitchen or nearby living space has great sun, you can even pot citrus for lemons or mandarins to add zest to any dish.

3ce9e6bc3333f5a2c4299d0d414ffc50 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

c846fba75ab44069007db7aae8cf355c Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

If you’re buying supermarket herbs, go for the potted ones rather than cut and plastic-wrapped ones. Then collect some vintage jars or tins to keep them pretty on your worktop for snipping and eating.

A spare spot that gets some sun is perfect for a green wall of herbs. They may need to be rotated out to the garden when they get a bit straggly. Or grow micro-greens to snip into salads and blend into smoothies.

How to make your supermarket herbs live longer

136d7d40e4bd10b5425386077784c8b3 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

At the luxury end of the market, this extraordinary demonstration eco kitchen, designed by Massachusetts-based ‘g’ Green Design Center, was created for a nutrition consultant and raw foodie. It includes an urban cultivator the owner uses to grow fresh herbs – perfect for farming your wheatgrass smoothies year-round.

7b2da8b8605a312ca677d9dde4358b5e Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Wise up to accessible appliances
There’s nothing more frustrating than a kitchen that resembles an appliance store – but many of them barely make it out of the box. This can be fixed. Step one – organise your appliances into one central spot. That way, when the urge takes you to make sorbet, or juice that bag of citrus, you’re not wasting time trying to find the right tool.

Keep the appliances you use most closest to hand. Some people don’t mind an array lined up on the worktop, others prefer them neatly out of sight (and dust-free) in a cupboard. Rotate them: in winter, keep the slow cooker out for warming casseroles; in summer, have the ice-cream maker at your fingertips. Challenge yourself to find recipes that make the most of an appliance – pilaus in the rice cooker or quesadillas in the panini press. We’ve all heard the de-cluttering rule: if you haven’t used something in a year, find it a new owner.

Sneaky storage ideas for small appliances

eaa83f99f40c552694ea2722e1e1fc30 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Keep tools at hand
The same rule applies to low-tech tools, too. Healthy cooking doesn’t require much: a good knife, a whisk, ladles and strainers, plus flavoursome additives, from spices to vinegars and sauces that add umami punch without the calories.

ef133465391753f14815b0e7049c610e Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

An organised utensil drawer keeps tools that support healthy cooking to hand: baking paper for non-stick baking without fat, measuring cups for portion control, a degreaser for skimming fat off pan juices before you make gravy, a zester for adding citrus punch to cooking, and a spiralizer or serrated peeler for making vegetable ‘spaghetti’.

7c947180d537f37b285d492737e57454 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Make your own
Baking your own cakes, loaves and flans means you know exactly what goes into your food: no additives with weird numbers, no extra sugars or fats. Plus, you get the great therapy of baking (especially if you do it with family) and the delicious flavour of homemade, and it’s a lot healthier.

a2d27e926407a06840c328072f491a41 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Juicing your own fruit and vegetables means you know exactly what you’re getting, and you’re not paying crazy café prices. A blender or food processor makes whipping up your own pesto, sauces or hummus, or smoothing roasted or steamed veggies into soups, quick and easy.

d115c2e3f117c469e1067ce624faf9fd Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

A low-tech solution also gives you a great workout – toned arms, as well as a happy digestive system. Bonus.

029937dcdefbc4908d3c79f1d08931e6 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Making your own snacks means you control exactly how much salt and fat you’re adding. Popcorn makers are a fun gift, or look out for slicers and racks that let you make crisps in the microwave.

34336cdc2569ff683f4dd3571ad8dba0 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Upgrade to grills and steamers
If you’re about to upgrade your major appliances in the kitchen, look for cooking alternatives that promote flavourful, healthy cooking. An egg barbecue, or in-worktop grill, encourages you to get a smoky barbecue flavour all year around.

95d72e03973a9945dba6c30ba01a905a Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Add a teppanyaki grill or in-worktop hotplate for fast stir-fry tossing of vegetables, meat and seafood. The clever part of tossing knives and spinning the pepper grinder may come later…

4d43b88e2e017dfd7df7f831ac0da54a Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

An in-worktop steamer is a fast way of cooking vegetables to retain their goodness. Can’t afford the fancy end? A wok with a bamboo basket does the same job.

666cf86801f57823adca3fc0e48cf958 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Don’t ignore raw
Serious raw foodies do more than just grate a carrot or two: there’s actually a lot of time and preparation that goes into keeping food flavoursome without cooking it. There are heavy-duty juicers and blenders for making soups, sauces and nut milks, but the biggie is a dehydrator that allows you to make your own raw fruit and veggie leathers and crisps, dry fresh herbs and more.

cd3ba582dd4321c850afa7a699b72176 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Raw foodie blogs are full of ideas for using dehydrators, too. With useful tips for things such as making vegetable and seed crackers, preparing warm food, and getting a crunchy texture on raw biscuits, as well as recipes for dishes such as raw stuffed peppers or mushrooms.

78104286d50cdd6b53979e8e6f6a7468 Kitchen Strategies to Help You Eat More Healthily

Waste not
Finally, one of the biggest trends in healthy eating is eliminating kitchen waste. The Love Food, Hate Waste organisation estimates UK households throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink a year. That’s not healthy for the planet – food waste fills landfills – or your budget.

Challenge yourself to make your healthy kitchen non-wasteful, too: create dishes that empty the fridge, fruit bowl or pantry before you buy more. Turn veggie scraps you can’t freeze into soups and stocks, or put the leftovers into a compost or bokashi bucket. Most importantly, shop thoughtfully.

Have you organised your kitchen to make healthy eating easier? Share your thoughts and ideas in the Comments below.
www.houzz.co.uk

Leave a Reply