Do you want a healthy food kitchen? At the beginning of last year, my husband and I weighed 210 pounds more than we do now. He is down over 160 lbs. and I am down over 50 lbs. That excess weight I carried weighed me down in more ways than I knew. I thought I was fine, however, because of the weight I had very little energy, faced several health issues, and had little emotional capacity to focus on my kids. One day my husband asked me if we could try something together to lose weight and improve our health. He had discovered something called Bright Line Eating. After he explained it to me we decided to do it. It has transformed our family, our health, and our relationship with food.
Because I wanted to support my husband’s desire to lose weight and regain his health, I knew we had to transition to a healthy food kitchen. So we got to work and made some changes. While I expected the changes to help my husband succeed, I did not, however, expect these changes to make life in the kitchen so simple and easy.
With a few simple steps, you can create a healthy food kitchen, too.
Purging the Pantry for a Healthy Food Kitchen
It’s Thursday night and you open your pantry or cupboard only to be accosted by food packages falling out because of how full it is, and yet you still find nothing to eat? Chances are you have an abundance of snacks and ingredients, but nothing outside of the blue and yellow box of pasta that counts as dinner.
Start by taking time to purge all the food from your pantry. Take everything out, give things to neighbors, donate to the food pantry, and toss things. Then put back anything that makes the cut. Things like canned veggies, beans, spices, rice, and unopened condiments.
Like us, you may be surprised at how much extra room you now have at your disposal. You will now be able to see what you have available and use it without feeling like you’re playing Jenga!
Or maybe you feel like all you do is act as matchmaker for your containers and lids. Some are a close fit, some are an obvious mismatch, but occasionally you find the perfect match. Ah! That’s amore! So the next thing you will do is to pull out all your lids and containers. Make sure that what you have is in good shape, has a lid, and can neatly nest. After purging, we decided to separate ours into tops and bottoms and put them inside larger
containers so that they would be better contained. (I love good pun!) I can tell you this system works very well at keeping the containers from becoming out of control.
Get rid of all the misfits, mismatches, and stray containers you have accumulated. It’s very freeing. This purge may result in even more space in your cabinets being free.
A Healthy Food Refrigerator
Just like you did with the pantry, pull everything out of your fridge so you can see what you have. Remove items that no longer fit your food plan and put back things that do. If, like us, you need more space just for produce, simply adding some containers for lettuce and other produce will help keep the shelves neat.
You might also label the shelves so that people will know where to find things, and where to return things. The refrigerator is now a place to keep food until it is used, and no longer serves as cold storage for leftovers turned science experiment.
Purging Appliances and Gadgets for a Healthy Food Kitchen
Now that you have gained all this space on pantry shelves and in cabinets, pull out all your small appliances and gadgets. Line them up and decide what makes the cut and what doesn’t. As you clear out items for foods you no longer eat, even more space will be freed up. Our gadget drawer now has distinct categories (like serving utensils and food prep tools) AND it opens and closes with ease. The drawer no longer jams.
Maximizing Counter Space
Think long and hard about what you want to take up this prime real estate. For us, it boiled down to things we use everyday. Specifically, our coffee maker, Instant Pot, food scales, and fruit baskets. We drink more water now so need to corral our water glasses to keep the counters from being cluttered. Simply adding a basket for these to reside in
solved that problem. By knowing what stays and what doesn’t, your counters are now clear and available for food prep.
Keeping Your Healthy Food Kitchen Clean
Another big change for us is that we now have 3 distinct meal times and no snacks. With this approach, there is a clear start and end to a meal so we implement cleaning checklists to ensure our kitchen is neat, clean, and ready for the next time we prep food. With this method, garbage is changed regularly, the dishwasher is run daily, and basic chores like unloading the dishwasher, reloading the dishwasher, and wiping down the surfaces are bite size jobs that we rotate among the family. When you implement clear times for your kitchen to be open and closed it will help you keep it cleaner, also.
What did I discover?
These simple steps of purging, assessing, and rearranging are really all you need to do to create a healthy food kitchen and work toward your health goals. When you purge all the places, you see and, therefore, use the things you have. As cabinets empty, your small kitchen feels bigger. And with regular clean-up, it stops feeling cluttered and chaotic and starts feeling calm and inviting.
In our home, all of these changes trickle down into simpler meal planning, easier grocery list making, and grocery shopping that feels more like an errand and less like an outing. Food is fun again. And the daily routine of checking the menu is easier to do than ever. Our family reclaimed our kitchen and our health as our healthy food kitchen supported our significant weight loss. (If you’re interested in knowing more about that, check out my husbands blog at nolongerchunky.com – be sure to check out his unique interview between his “fat self” and his “skinny self”.)
Are you ready to reclaim your kitchen and your health? Which simple change will you start with? Let me know in the comments below.