The kitchen is where the fun happens – it’s where you wash, chop, stir, bake, fry and glaze. It’s the place where you prepare food for your family and it should always be the epitome of cleanliness. Sadly, this is something that’s often easier said than done, and many feel discouraged when they start thinking about making some changes in their kitchen. If you’re hoping to make your kitchen a bit healthier, here’s what you could do to make it happen.
Grow your own herbs and spices
It’s virtually impossible to make a delicious dish without proper seasoning, and you can easily grow your own herbs and spices right there on your kitchen counter. You can put several small pots on the counter or mount a few mason jars on the wall. Basil is always a good idea as it’s great when fresh as well as when dried. Cilantro/coriander is excellent for meat and salsa, and lemon balm is perfect for salads as well as teas. There are other useful herbs and spices you can easily grow indoors, just remember to water them when necessary and keep them in a place with plenty of natural light.
Smoking is bad for your health as is, and people usually try to limit the number of cigarettes they smoke as well as have a ‘smoking place’ in their homes. For many, the perfect place is the kitchen table, but even though it is very convenient, you should still make an effort to reduce the amount of smoke by using air filters. The best air purifiers for smokers are the ones with HEPA quality carbon purifiers, as these are able to remove almost all smoke particles from the air. This is a good investment, even for non-smokers, as kitchens easily fill up with smoke when we prepare food.
Adopt healthy habits
Start with the simplest things such as thoroughly washing your hands before you start preparing a meal, and change the way you keep groceries in the fridge. Meats should always be kept on lower shelves as they can sometimes leak, and vegetables should be kept on higher shelves. Any food that’s not eaten during a meal shouldn’t be left to sit on the kitchen table, but properly stored in food containers and placed in the fridge. And the fridge itself shouldn’t be over-packed, as this prevents the cool air from circulating properly.
Include more of the organic, natural and GMO-free products in your everyday nutrition. A few drops of extra virgin coconut oil or a spoon of organic coconut sugar will bring a healthy refreshment to your diet.
The FIFO method might not be popular, but it’s more than effective. It’s the idea that the first items you put in your fridge should also be the first ones you spend, hence the name: First In, First Out. Not only is it easy to remember, but it’s also a great way to eliminate waste and keep your fridge healthy. Older foods should be put to the front of the fridge so you can grab them more easily. This way, you will eliminate waste and be able to save some money too, as you will be using more of the food you already have instead of buying new groceries every few days.
Light it up
Lighting affects our lives more than we might think, and when you have plenty of natural light in your home, you feel more cheerful and refreshed. Kitchen lighting is also very important for two reasons: you should be able to see the food you’re preparing and you should also eat your meals in a pleasant atmosphere. Lighting affects the way we eat, and as soft light makes us calmer and more comfortable, we are more likely to spend more time in the kitchen and perhaps eat a bit more than we planned in the first place. This doesn’t mean that brighter lights will make you lose weight, but it will certainly make you more aware of the food you’re eating.
Ditch plastic for glass
Even though no one can deny that plastic trays, cups and containers are very cheap and convenient, they also contain chemicals such as BPA which can be bad for your health. When you use glass bakeware for baking, glass containers for storing, and glass platters for serving food, your kitchen will be safer and at the same time look much more elegant. Luckily, today’s glass is not as fragile as it used to be and it takes quite a bit of effort to break items made from tempered glass. What is more, when you bake something in a glass pan, you can see exactly how long you should cook it until it’s done, and afterwards, your dish will stay warm longer as glass is better for retaining heat than metal.
In order to make your kitchen healthier for everyone, you don’t have to spend a fortune on renovations and updates. It’s often the little things that make the greatest difference in the long run, and if you implement some of these changes we suggested, you’ll be happy with the result. Remember that everything starts with your decision to do something different, and once you set your mind to it, you’ll notice that the possibilities are many.
Zara Lewis is a regular contributor at Ripped.me, a traveler and a mother to two. Originally from Chicago, she found her place in the sun in Perth, Australia. Passionate about creating a better world for the generations to come, she enjoys sharing her knowledge, experience (and recipes) with others.