Making Your Kitchen Conducive to Healthy Eating
25th August 2015
We’ve said it before and, no doubt, we’ll say it again: the kitchen is the heart of the home. Generally, the focal point for most families, we come together here to cook, dine, chat, and relax. And while this is a fact that we relish, there are certain drawbacks to the kitchen being the sociable hub that it is.
What do you associate the kitchen with most? Why, food – naturally. It stands to reason then, that by spending most of our time in the kitchen, there’s a likelihood that we may occasionally overindulge ourselves. That said – we’re not banning you from the kitchen or asking you to empty your cupboards of all calories – but rather offering you small tips on how to modify your behaviour when it comes to the kitchen.
Organise your cupboards and fridge
In vowing to make your kitchen a healthier space, this is the initial and arguably most important step. What’s that old saying — out of sight, out of mind? If in your handiest cupboard, there happens to be a stash of biscuits and crisps, all apparent to the eye and at arm’s reach, you’re significantly increasing your chances of eating those things. Even if you never set out to, the mere sight of these goodies is likely to induce you into a sugar-craving fit of frenzy.
The solution? Keep a selection of healthier snacks to the forefront. If you do have a sweet tooth, make your treats less accessible. Organise your fridge in such a way that healthier snacks are visible. Forget vegetable drawers and store your carrots and celery sticks front row centre.
It’s pretty simple: If you don’t have healthy food in your house, you can’t eat healthy food. One of the most difficult things is planning ahead for meals but it’s also one of the most rewarding. Research recipes and healthy snack alternatives, make a list, and go out and buy the ingredients! It’s not rocket science. By accepting this one challenge, you’ve already fought half the battle.
Stock/grow fresh herbs and keep them handy
Not only do little DIY herbs gardens look amazing in your kitchen, they’re also a healthy alternative to seasoning your food. Avoid salt and butter by making the most of these natural flavours. If the prospect of “growing things” and keeping them alive is all too daunting, you can of course stick to jarred goods.
Make room for fresh fruit
This might sound a little superficial, especially when it comes to storing fruit, but you’d be surprised at the effect this can have. By making your fruit a focal point of your decor, you’re guaranteed to maintain this feature by adding new fruits regularly and often. They’ll also be the first thing you see when you’re heading for a snack. A win-win situation.
For some of us, cooking isn’t a cathartic or particularly enjoyable experience. This is why we take unhealthy shortcuts, often in the form of ready meals. By playing music or putting on your favourite TV show, you can transform preparing meals into a pleasurable activity. You won’t feel the need to rush or “get dinner over with” and can begin to embrace cooking and healthy eating in a whole new way.
Create a clutter free, tidy space
The reason for this is two fold. The most obvious reason being that if your worktops are cluttered with food, you’re going to be inclined to eat it. The only food that should be visible is what’s in your fruit bowl. That’s right, no biscuit tins!
In addition, by keeping the kitchen tidy and organised, healthy eating habits should follow. A haphazard kitchen will only promote quick, path-of-least-resistance, cooking.
Do you ever go into the kitchen and just think “what do I want?” You’re not hungry but you’re craving something. While we’re not recommending a caffeine diet, by having a relaxing coffee station you can satisfy that craving without resorting to calorie-heavy snacks.
Opt for smaller plates
Recent research by Professor Wansink has identified that yes, using smaller plates actually makes a real difference. The logic: larger plates can make a serving of food appear smaller, and smaller plates can lead us to misjudge that very same quantity of food as being significantly larger. In other words, you can trick yourself into believing less is more.
Serve yourself from counter
This is a simple technique that has been tried and tested in various formats. If food is staring you in the face, you’re much more likely to eat it. By serving your meal from the worktops, as opposed to carrying out all the dishes onto the dining table, you should find yourself eating less.
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