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Happy kitchen, healthy eating

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WHETHER YOU’RE TRYING to lose weight, improve your mood, or adopt healthier habits, the best place to start is by looking at the big picture. It’s time to clean out your kitchen.

“Begin by getting rid of unhealthy staples in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer,” says Nancy Rothwell, professional organizer and owner of Straighten-Up Organizing.

“Rid yourself of anything that could potentially derail your healthy eating plans.”

Rothwell also advises planning ahead. She sometimes plans between five and six meals before going to the grocery store so that she has multiple healthy options for the week.

“Sometimes we think if our pantry is big, it needs to be filled, but that’s not necessarily the case,” Rothwell says. “I shop a little bit more often just to have fresh and healthy food in my home.”

Keep fresh fruit on the counter. When you’re tempted to snack, you have an option at hand that is better for you than cookies or chips.

“If you have fresh vegetables, wash them and store them in cute containers,” Rothwell says. “It sounds funny, but presenting healthy food in a way that makes it appealing can spark our desire to eat it.”

CREATING A SYSTEM

“Make zones—one to keep all of your baking items together, another for when you’re entertaining, and others for similar food items,” Rothwell says. “If you have things stored all over your kitchen, or food in every cabinet, you won’t know what you have.”

To organize efficiently Rothwell uses clear plastic bins, which she says are especially helpful in the refrigerator. By pulling the bin out of the fridge, you can see—and remember to use—food stored at the back of the shelf. “People use their kitchens in different ways,” Rothwell says. “Organize your kitchen based on how you use it.”

Where Your Groceries Go You planned your meals for the week and purchased healthy groceries. Now, where do you put them? When unpacking your food supplies, here’s what to store where:
• Meat—In the refrigerator, meat, fish, and poultry should go in a drawer or on the bottom shelf. If you freeze it, be sure to wrap it well and clearly label what it is and the date of purchase.
• Fruit—Keep a bowl of fruit, such as apples and bananas, on the counter. Fruits with pits should be refrigerated when ripe.
• Dairy and eggs—These belong in the coldest section of your fridge, typically toward the back.
• Vegetables—Keep these in a crisper or produce drawer. You can also cut up cucumbers, carrots, celery, and other easy-to-eat options and store them on shelves in smaller containers.

Need more insight into what healthy eating means for you? Talk to your primary care doctor, or visit sacredhearteauclaire.org or stjoeschipfalls.org to find one near you.

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