How to Organize Your Kitchen to Help You Eat HealthyEating healthy requires effort, but humans seem to gravitate toward “the path of least resistance”. When given the option, most of us choose what’s easiest. That’s why a few simple changes in how you organize your kitchen can automatically help you eat healthier. These 9 ways to organize your kitchen can make eating healthy easier, save money, and reduce food waste.
1. Get rid of unhealthy foodIt seems obvious, but it’s a fact—you can’t eat food that’s not there. So if you’re serious about eating healthy, go through your kitchen and compost any food you don’t actually want as part of your healthy diet. If a food doesn’t support your health goals, it shouldn’t be in your kitchen.
2. Keep unhealthy food out of sightIf you share your home with other people, chances are high that at least one of them requires some unhealthy food to be available. Maybe you have teens who consume carbs like air. Or your spouse has a fondness for a particular caloric indulgence. Don’t let food come between you and your loved ones. Simply store unhealthy foods in a place that’s “out of sight, out of mind”. You’re less likely to indulge in these foods when they’re not visible and hard to access.
3. Keep healthy food front and centerThe flip side of that “out of sight, out of mind” coin is that you’re more likely to eat what’s in front of you. You know how grocery stores place the more expensive products at eye level? You have to look up or down to find the cheaper options. It’s an effective strategy that works to organize your kitchen for eating healthy at home.
- Don’t hide the veggies in a crisper drawer. Place healthy foods at eye level in your fridge.
- Place fruits on the counter in a basket so they’re always visible.
- Create a snack bowl with healthy “grab-and-go” options.
4. Stock up on healthy staplesKeep your pantry stocked with healthy staples (like nuts, seeds, and coconut milk), and your fridge stocked with fresh staples like eggs, homemade dressings or dips, and non-starchy vegetables. A freezer stocked with bananas and berries makes a healthy smoothie snack a breeze.
5. Don’t buy more than you needRemember that rotting bunch of spinach at the back of the fridge? You want to avoid that. If your fridge is too full to see what’s inside, you’ll forget what’s in there and food gets wasted. It’s the “out of sight, out of mind” principle again. The same is true for your pantry. Organize it well enough to quickly access anything that’s in there. Stocking up on staples is important, but don’t stock up so much that you can’t use it before it expires. And don’t buy more than you can store in a helpfully organized way.
6. Plan what you’ll eatYou’re almost guaranteed to resort to unhealthy options when you get home from work late and the healthy food requires way too much time to prepare. You’re hungry and you need to eat right now! The solution to this problem is to plan what you’ll eat. Make a meal plan before you go to the grocery store so you have everything you need on hand. We’ve all gone to the grocery store and been enticed by an exotic fruit. We put it in the cart with the best of intentions, only to find it rotting at the back of the fridge a week later. Stick to your grocery list so you don’t buy foods you don’t want to eat or won’t need. Use your meal plan to decide what you’ll eat for supper in advance. Even if you don’t do any actual preparation before you leave for work in the morning, you can at least know what you’re going to eat when you get home and make sure you have everything you need on hand to quickly put it together later.
7. Prepare your food in advanceYou’re more likely to choose unhealthy food if it’s more convenient than healthier options. Avoid this by making healthy food convenient. Take time at the start of your week to prepare healthy snacks in advance. For example, wash and cut your celery into handy snack-sized containers, and prepare a healthy dip. Now you have a healthy snack option that’s just as convenient as a packaged candy bar. Another idea is to make smoothie packs for the freezer for a quick breakfast or post-workout snack. Add sliced bananas, berries, kale or spinach to a freezer-safe bag. When you’re ready for a smoothie, pop the contents of your smoothie pack into the blender and add a bit of liquid, if necessary. Blend and enjoy! Some other healthy foods you can prepare in advance include:
- Any raw veggies
- Sliced cheeses
- Boiled eggs
- Cooked quinoa
- Overnight oats