Some kitchens are filled with vegetables while others are chock full of candy. There are kitchens that inspire cooking and kitchens that simply need cleaning. There are stinky kitchens and kitchens that smell like fresh herbs. Kitchens are often reflective of their owners and there are thousands of kitchens as unique as you and me. For those of you who are hoping to lead a healthier lifestyle, here are some tips on how to set up your kitchen to influence better well-being.
Cook With Thought And Purpose
We all know that cooking our own meals at home is beneficial to both nutrition and quality of life. That said, your cooking methods of choice have a huge bearing on just how healthy your home diet is. With so many ready meals available on the market, the microwave often becomes the most used cooking appliance in your home. If you love to microwave, be sure to thoroughly heat your food and never reheat food in plastic containers that are not specifically marked as microwave safe.
When possible, taking the time to prepare and cook a meal from scratch will help you reap additional mental, emotional, and physical health benefits. Put on some music and make it a relaxing activity. Better yet, invite your friends or family to pitch in and make it a social affair. Try to prioritize cooking methods that preserve more nutrients. For instance, choose to steam your broccoli instead of boiling it. A slow cooker is a great appliance that can produce delicious dishes with minimal effort.
Pay close attention to ventilation while you cook. Cooking—particularly on a gas stove—can lead to high levels of indoor air pollution in your home. In addition, smoke, steam, and strong smells from cooking can linger in your kitchen and lead to poor air quality. Open your kitchen windows if you can. In addition, you should install an effective range hood to remove smoke and fine particles from the air. High-quality range hoods such as CopperSmith hoods can ventilate your kitchen while adding to your design aesthetic.
Place Health Front And Center
Turns out it is not just how your kitchen is designed but also where you put your food that makes a big difference to your eating habits. We tend to pick up the most convenient and obvious option when we wander into the kitchen looking for a snack. Therefore, you should keep healthy snacks easily within reach. Place a big bowl of fresh fruit smack in the center of your kitchen island and swap out the jar of cookies for trail mix.
While you give healthy food pride of place, be sure to hide their not-so-healthy counterparts. Store sweet snacks and junk foods at the back of the pantry or in the highest cabinets to keep them out of sight and mind. You will be less likely to reach for these snacks if you need to spend several minutes looking for them. If you really must have these snacks, prepackage them into tiny bags to control your portion sizes and try to limit yourself to one bag at a time.
Growing a herb garden by your kitchen window is a good way to have unlimited access to fresh herbs. Aside from adding another dimension to your dishes, herbs can promote health through their antioxidant and mood-lifting properties as well. Many herbs such as basil and rosemary are hardy and easy to maintain. You can get seedlings or whole potted plants in the garden store (and sometimes the grocery store) to help you get started.
Keep Things Spick And Span
Messy and disorganized kitchens can quickly become a source of stress rather than satisfaction. If you find yourself constantly cleaning your kitchen, it may be time to replace some troublesome elements with alternatives that are simpler to maintain. For instance, instead of having a tiled backsplash with grout lines that collect grime, consider a seamless solid piece that is stain-resistant. Similarly, a larger sink and faucets with long hoses or flexible heads can make cleaning up a much easier job.
Studies show that using the same kitchen towel multiple times can lead to the spread of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus. These pathogens can lead to food poisoning and other forms of foodborne illness. To prevent your kitchen towels from becoming a source of contamination, try to switch them out for clean ones as often as possible. Avoid leaving them damp since this encourages more bacterial growth. Have specific towels for each surface instead of using one towel for multiple cleaning purposes.
You can do your part to protect the environment and your health by switching from conventional cleaning products to eco-friendly and natural products. Non-toxic cleaners such as diluted white vinegar can eliminate grease and stains; diluted lemon juice can disinfect your nonporous countertops; baking soda can remove bad odors. Before using any cleaning products—store-bought or homemade—be sure to read the instructions provided to avoid any mishaps.
The kitchen is where the magic happens. You turn raw materials into nourishing meals and feed the temple of your body and mind. Such an important place in the house deserves nothing less than the best. By choosing the right appliances, fixtures, ingredients, and cleaning products, you can create a kitchen that inspires a healthier lifestyle.