Organizing Your Kitchen to Reset Your Eating
A kitchen cleanup can go far beyond simply getting organized—it can also jump start your healthy eating into high gear. Sometimes it takes just a few simple switches, and suddenly the task of making healthier choices becomes far less daunting. In this article, you’ll learn what to get rid of, what to stock, and how to organize it all to meet your health goals and stay on track.
These four simple steps can work wonders in resetting your eating!
Step 1: Clean Out the Old
First and foremost, it’s time to get rid of what isn’t working for you. (Here’s a good guide to what to clean out.) I know it’s easier said than done to part with your favorite cookies or treats, but being honest about what you could be sabotaging your success is an important step. If you know certain foods are serious triggers, don’t buy them!
For example, in my house I know that Oreos are my weakness. I used to buy them, telling myself that only my kids would eat them. But in reality, I would scarf down half the package. Now, I buy healthier options just for my kids to eat, like Fig Newtons or Lucy’s chocolate chip cookie Snack n Go packs, pre-portioned bags that I’ll put in their lunch boxes. These aren’t nearly as hard for me to avoid. Though the truth is that sugar is incredibly habit-forming and addictive, so often the only way to break that addiction is by keeping sugary foods out of the house, period.
Also, don’t forget to take a close look at your drawers! Clean and organized drawers both in the fridge and outside it often lead to clean and organized eating. Get rid of old leftovers and expired items, and give away or throw out foods that you don’t want to eat. Clean all of your drawers and organize them beautifully (more on this in a moment). This gives you an empowered feeling of control in your own kitchen—which helps you control your eating habits.
Step 2: Restock With Healthy Choices
Now that you’ve done away with the old, it’s time to restock with the new! Make a list that is broken down into snacks, protein sources, veggies, fruits, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Snacks are most people’s downfall, so commit to buying the healthy stuff like eggs to hard boil, sugar-free beef or salmon jerky, whole grain or seed-based crackers with guacamole or fresh salsa, cheese, or whatever other healthy snacks you enjoy.
Plan your protein for the week and consider making a few big batches of meals you can reheat as leftovers. Your proteins can be fish, chicken, beef, eggs, turkey, etc. Make sure you have healthy fats like pre-portioned nuts, seeds, avocado, and olives on hand for snacking and meals: fats will keep you satisfied for longer. Try out a new veggie or fruit each week that you’ve never tried before, and learn how to cook it! Plan for complex carbs to replace simple carbs (like white rice, breads, pastas, etc), so put things on your grocery list like brown and black rice, quinoa, or any other whole grain you like.
Having enough healthy foods on hand is a key piece of the healthy eating puzzle—coming home after work to a bare fridge is a recipe for ordering pizza!
Step 3: Get Organize
Now that you have the ingredients, it’s time to organize them. While this might be an investment of time and money, I guarantee you it will save you money in the long run, because you’ll be wasting less food to spoilage.
Everyone has their own style here, but I’ve found that buying clear bins can make a world of difference. Look for ones that fit in your fridge and work in your cupboards. Label them to help you create a flow for the week. For example, in bin one in the fridge, you can put what you need for Monday’s dinner, bin two for Tuesday’s dinner, and so on. Or, if you prefer, you can have a bin for proteins, a bin for snacks, a bin for veggies, a bin for leftovers… you get the picture! Be sure to put raw meat on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator to avoid dripping, which can contaminate other food.
For veggies, take off the twist ties and rubber bands that keep the bunches together. Keep them in the crisper out of plastic and loosely covered (or make sure there are holes in the plastic bags, so air can circulate), which will help keep them fresh for longer. Store veggies separately from fruit, too, since the ethylene gas that fruit emits will make them go bad faster.
Buy freezer staples like frozen veggies, berries, and portions of chicken, fish, or beef. They’re fantastic as back up for nights that you don’t have a plan.
With a neater, more organized kitchen you are far less likely to grab for unhealthy snack foods instead of preparing your meals.
Step 4: Make Sure the Right Foods are Accessible
Once you’ve got everything organized, be sure it stays that way! In a busy week, it’s easy for things to get a little jumbled, so make sure that you take just five minutes a day to ensure the healthy meal and snack foods stay visible. You want to take care that they don’t get pushed back to where you’ll inevitably forget about them. For example, keep some pre-hardboiled eggs in the door of the fridge, so you can grab them for a quick snack sprinkled with some sea salt. And keep Sweet Defeat out on the counter, so it’s in sight when you have a sugar craving emergency!
Let your kitchen inspire you to become the healthiest version of yourself! With these tips and tricks, your wellness journey can get a whole lot easier.