Jewels Doskicz is a registered nurse, freelance writer, patient advocate, health coach, and long-distance cyclist. Jewels is the moderator of Diabetic Connect’s weekly #DCDE Twitter chat, and she and her daughter both live healthfully with type 1 diabetes.
If my guess is correct, cleaning the kitchen probably doesn’t top your list as a great way to kick off the weekend.
But the reasons you should get cleaning? They’re too numerous to tally!
The benefits of investing some quality time in your kitchen are quietly waiting. By taking inventory of what you’ve purchased and what’s occupying real estate in the cabinets, fridge, and freezer, you may have an eye-opening experience—especially in relation to heart condition control.
Appetite for Health finds that an “organized and welcoming” kitchen encourages health because it creates an environment everyone wants to cook and eat in. Take it one step at a time; you’ll be amazed at what you find and what you can do without.
1. Do some countertop clean-up
You certainly don’t need to have Martha Stewart’s kitchen (or skill set) to crank out a healthy meal. A lived-in kitchen with banged up pots and pans is perfect—it shows you’re actually using them. Healthy meals can be pumped out of small spaces regardless of the quality of your cabinets and countertops. With motivation and good intentions anything is possible.
What’s the first step in kitchen inspiration? According to The Kitchn, start by simply clearing off the countertops. It makes great sense; if there’s clutter everywhere, it not only makes the space feel small, it screams, "Don't cook! Eat out!"
Try this on for size: find a favorite bowl, give it a special space on the countertop, and fill it with fresh ready-to-grab items such as bananas, avocados, oranges, apples, or pears. It won’t only look beautiful; having it front and center will increase the odds that your family indulges in heart-healthy fresh produce.
2. Get rid of the unhealthy stuff—and don't buy it again
Going to the grocery store and making home-cooked meals is certainly only half the battle—the other half is looking at your choice ingredients. Grocery shopping can cause distress for many people; between favorite go-to snacks and foods that kids demand, a grocery cart can quickly turn into a processed food and carbohydrate bonanza.
To no surprise, this translates into cabinets full of half eaten products or some that may have been lost and left unopened in the shuffle, which is why purging cabinets on a regular basis is important.
Try these simple tips to get you on the right track.
• Trim down the condiments—check the "best by" dates, throw out the half-empty jars, and get rid of unhealthy choices.
• Store nutritious foods front and center.
• Donate unopened foods that were poor choices to a food bank.
• Store unhealthier options at the back of the cabinet or fridge and in spots that are above eye level or are difficult to reach.
• Store food in containers that you can see through. Go to second-hand stores and look for mason jars and other glass storage containers; there’s no need to spend an arm and a leg on this.
• Organize your cookware and utensils so they’re easy to access, and donate items you never use.
• Grocery shop for the entire week—you can easily get it out of the way on a Saturday morning trip. By staying on a schedule, you can decrease waste, plan a healthy menu, save money, organize coupons, and clean the refrigerator weekly.
• Never shop on an empty stomach—you're more likely to make poor decisions.
3. Save some money
By setting this process in motion you’ll not only improve your family’s health, but also your bottom line. The average person in the U.S. eats out between three and four times per week according to The Simple Dollar. The cost of restaurant or take-out dishes can add up. Once you've taken up these changes over the course of a month, change something in your kitchen that’ll make you happy with the money you’re saving: hang a picture, buy a new cutting board, replace an old pot, or cover the walls in a fresh coat of paint.