Steps to a Healthier Kitchen

Tuesday, 19 April 2011 04:27 PM

The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but it’s also command central for what everyone in the house does or doesn’t eat. Set up the right way, it can steer you onto a healthier path.

Jillian Michaels, the now infamous trainer of “The Biggest Loser,” once told me: "Your environment is the easiest to change, because things don't talk back."

Really? I know people whose refrigerators invite them to take a peek inside as soon as they walk through the front door. And if they don’t accept immediately, that darn fridge doesn’t give up. Cajoling at first, it gradually gets frustrated and starts nagging. And if it still doesn’t get compliance … well, let’s just say a few neighbors have been known to complain about the yelling.

Kidding aside, Michaels makes a good point. You can’t eat something that isn’t there, but leave a plate of yummy cookies on the counter and we all know what happens. Once said, this little gem of wisdom seems like a no-brainer, but if you’re not in perfect shape, the contents of your kitchen may not be making it easy to eat well.

Take a Fresh Look

Seeing what is, or isn’t in your kitchen can pinpoint ways to make improvements. And with a little reorganization, healthier eating can become a simpler, more convenient affair. These are some key things to check for:

• Are kitchen counters cluttered with bags or boxes of food? Packaged food is never the best option, especially if it’s something you can grab and put directly into your mouth. It shouldn’t be there, but a bowl of fruit could be helpful.

• Open the fridge. What’s the first thing you see? If it’s soda, move it to a shelf in the fridge door and fill the same space with a jug of filtered or spring water with slices of lemon. On your next trip to the supermarket, consider replacing regular or diet soda with carbonated drinks without artificial additives and only a bit of sugar from fruit sources, or plain bubbly mineral water.

• If leftover pizza or fast food stares at you, replace it with pre-cut, ready-to-eat raw vegetables and a container of salsa or hummus, or leftovers from a meal with lean meat or fish and vegetables.

• Make sure that the crisper drawers of the fridge contain fresh fruits and vegetables, rather than packaged foods.

• Is there any lean meat or fish in the fridge or freezer? If not, put these on your next shopping list.

• Are the cupboards filled with packaged foods? If so, try to come up with some ideas for cooked-from-scratch alternatives.

• Are there any cookbooks in the vicinity? If not, consider perusing some in your local library or bookstore, or search online for “healthy version of” dishes you like. Keep cookbooks in the kitchen or recipe cards on the fridge door. And, of course, use them.

Just as refrigerators don’t really talk to people, having a bowl of fruit on a kitchen counter won’t make you eat it. But it certainly will tip the odds that you will.

© HealthDay

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Tuesday, 19 April 2011 04:27 PM
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