*collaborative guest post
Anyone who has started a diet or tried to re-model their eating habits knows that it’s easier to eat new things in a new place than trying to change old, hardened routines in the places you developed them. If you’re serious about making healthy lifestyle changes and keeping them, you might do well to re-model where you eat.
Changing your eating environment will completely alter your attitude to food, sometimes subconsciously! For those of us who have had lifelong dietary struggles, making your kitchen a haven of healthy-eating could be the ultimate solution, so here are my top four things to think about, when you’re designing a healthy kitchen.
Design for health benefits
If you have the luxury to be able to design your kitchen from scratch (perhaps you’re considering a remodel, moving house or building your own home), then make sure you have nice big windows to bring in lots of natural light. Not only is natural light mood-boosting, but bright lights have been linked to healthier eating habits.
Alternatively, it’s a good idea to have spotlights over the important areas in the kitchen like the breakfast table, sink, oven and countertops. Speaking of which, if you’re able to install non-porous countertops, you will benefit from easy-cleaning materials.
Having an easy-to-maintain kitchen could also offer you a mental helping hand – you’re more likely to actually use your kitchen to cook healthy meals if you don’t feel utterly overwhelmed by the post-meal cleanup. This brings us to the next point…
Organise your pantry for health-boosting benefits
Even if you can’t change absolutely everything around, there are ways of tricking your mind into eating healthier. Having a different layout is part of this. You can begin by arranging your pantry so that you can see everything. Find some inspiration on Pinterest and you could spend a Sunday evening making shelves, benefiting you in the long-run.
When you walk into your pantry, you don’t have to sort through a whole shelf of baked beans to find the half-used quinoa for dinner. Keep things in beautiful display pots and jars for easy access. Making your own spice rack could inspire you to try different things and reduce your salt intake by adding exotic flavors!
Decorating your kitchen and pantry in a beautiful way could mean appreciating it, and your body, in a whole new way. My final top tip in this regard: keep snacks on the tippy top shelf. This way you’ll be more likely to reach for the fruit bowl or the jar of nuts.
Things to take away, and things to add
Speaking of which! You’ll want to have a well-stocked fruit bowl. If your family doesn’t like apples, oranges and bananas, why not put some exotic fruit in there? Yes, it’s more expensive, but making space in your budget for healthy foods means happiness, health and satisfaction down the line – isn’t that worth it to you?
If you can, set up a growing station by a window (to provide light) to regrow veggie cuts like lettuce and green onions. If you can also buy a new set of plates and knives and forks that’s a great thing to do! It’s highly beneficial to people looking to lose weight to eat off of smaller plates and to use smaller forks in particular – another mental trick that will leave you feeling fuller on less food.
Take the TV away from the kitchen to make meal-eating more mindful and family-oriented. Remove the serving platters from the dining table, too. This will lead to a mindless second, third and fourth servings that frankly, you don’t need.
Make your kitchen user-friendly
The internet world is all about providing a good “user experience”, and the same can be applied to you and your kitchen. To keep your experience of your kitchen a healthy one, keep food (especially healthy food) at eye-level and visible where you and your family can see it. Buy little Tupperwares (who doesn’t love adorable little plastic boxes?!) and pre-portion your snacks so you don’t overeat on crisps and nuts – they are particularly moreish.
Try to keep your counter as bare as possible to avoid mindless snacking – this is common with people who keep cereal boxes on the counter for instance. Apart from the fruit bowl, of course! That can be kept in plain sight, incentivizing you to snack healthy.