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Healthy Tips for a Healthy Kitchen

Updated on July 29, 2013
Abby Campbell profile image

Dr. Abby Campbell is a Naturopathic Doctor & President of 911 Body ResQ, an online store providing organic and non-GMO supplements.

About the Author

Abby Campbell, BSc, SFN, SSN, CPT, is a leading professional fitness and nutrition expert, researcher, and published author of One Size Does NOT Fit All Diet Plan, one of Amazon's Top Gluten-Free and Weight Loss Diets. (You may read more about Abby at the bottom of this article.)

Healthy tips for a healthy kitchen!
Healthy tips for a healthy kitchen! | Source

Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to be complicated, but it sometimes seems so initially. Recommendations for correct dieting techniques with exercise can be overwhelming, especially if there is little support in your efforts. One of the best ways to get started is to clean up your kitchen so that you won't be tempted to eat the "bad" foods. Taking a kitchen survey to help you can be the first step to success. It will help you determine what you need to get rid of. However, it will also help you in restocking your kitchen with the essentials. This may seem daunting at first as many excuses come to mind:

"I don't want to waste anything because I paid for it with my hard-earned money."

"There are starving children, and this food is going to waste."

"My family is going to scream when they find out I've gotten rid of their snacks."

Because these excuses are actually legitimate, there are a few options that you may consider so that don't feel badly about the riddance. Follow along to learn how to:

  • survey your kitchen,
  • get rid of low-quality foods,
  • restock your kitchen,
  • take inventory of helpful appliances and storage,
  • cook with basic skills, and
  • how to deal with "waste" and family members who may not like the change.

Your personal kitchen survey and cleanup is the first step to a healthy kitchen.
Your personal kitchen survey and cleanup is the first step to a healthy kitchen. | Source


Are you making the switch to a healthy kitchen?

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Kitchen Survey and Cleanup

To begin your kitchen makeover, take a survey. Open your refrigerator, pantry, and cabinets and take mental inventory of all low quality foods. Any food that is pre-packaged, processed, and refined are most likely low quality as they contain preservatives, additives, and many other chemicals. They may also be "empty" calorie foods with high calories and little nutrients. Many of these foods cause inflammation in the body which in turn causes disorders, diseases, and symptoms such as fatigue, joint and nerve pain, and just a feeling of not being well. They may include:

  • artificial sweeteners (i.e., Equal, NutraSweet, Same, Sweet'N Low, etc.)
  • beverages (i.e., sodas, fruit drinks, juices, etc.)
  • boxed foods (i.e., macaroni and cheese, cereals, crackers, cookies, etc.)
  • canned foods (i.e., vegetables, fruits, etc.)
  • frozen foods (i.e., anything processed and ready-to-eat)
  • salad dressings
  • sauces and condiments (i.e., barbeque, marinara, steak, ketchup, etc.)
  • snacks (i.e., pudding, cookies, fruit roll-ups, candy, etc.)

You may feel this list is a bit harsh. However, you may make a few exceptions that are not quite as bad. You may even want to transition slowly rather than go cold-turkey to begin. Following is a list of certain foods you may want to keep or transition from:

  • artificial sweeteners (Splenda) - Stevia is a great choice as well
  • beverages (diet sodas made with Splenda) - Diet Rite is a decent choice
  • boxed foods (quinoa, brown or wild rice, whole grains)
  • canned foods (tomato sauce with low sodium; fruits packed in water only; tuna and salmon in water only)
  • frozen foods (vegetables with nothing added such as sauces, sugars, and salt; fruits without added sugar)
  • salad dressings - Ken's brand is the best pre-made dressing as it has the least preservatives (choose regular vs. low-fat as the low-fat will have more sugars)
  • sauces and condiments (store-bought with no or very little preservatives, sodium, and sugar; or homemade)
  • snacks (natural) - dark chocolate without added sugar is a great choice

If you're not sure a particular food is low quality, you can look at the Nutrition Facts and Ingredients label on the product. If the item has a bunch of ingredients that you are not familiar with, it's in your best interest to get rid of it.

Your kitchen makeover should help you with healthy eats.
Your kitchen makeover should help you with healthy eats. | Source

Healthy Eats for Your New Healthy Kitchen

Once you've cleaned out your kitchen, it may look a bit bare and you may feel a little overwhelmed. With the right plan of attack, you will overcome this quickly. You are going to restock your kitchen with high quality foods - foods that will nourish your body and brain with essential nutrients that will help you live healthier, feel better, and ward off disease. With a little organization, food prep will be much easier and quicker.

It's now time to get familiar with where you can find the healthiest food items in your local grocery store. Before you know it, you'll be navigating it like a pro! Shop as efficiently as possible, and reduce temptations and distractions so that you'll be sure to stock up on healthy foods. Most grocery stores are laid out the same way with all healthy, natural foods on the outside perimeter: produce (i.e., vegetables and fruits), proteins (i.e., beef, chicken, turkey, tenderloin, fish, and other seafood), and eggs and dairy (i.e., cottage cheese and Greek yogurt). Following is a basic list of foods that you can start with.

  • 3 Proteins (examples: extra-lean ground beef, skinless chicken breast, salmon)
  • 3 vegetables (examples: fresh green beans, frozen broccoli, Romaine lettuce)
  • 3 fruits (examples: apples, grapefruits, frozen blueberries)
  • 3 starches (examples: Old Fashioned oatmeal, wild rice, sweet potatoes)
  • 3 fats (examples: flaxseed oil, walnuts, avocados)

Having the right kitchen utensils on hand will help you be more proactive with healthy eats. Prepping food will be much easier whether it is for an at-home meal or a meal on the go.

Your kitchen essentials list should include particular small appliances and a digital scale.
Your kitchen essentials list should include particular small appliances and a digital scale. | Source

Kitchen Utensils List

Cooking doesn't have to be difficult. You don't need a bunch of fancy equipment to make tasty and healthy meals. Just invest in kitchen utensils and appliances you know you will use. Most likely, you will have the majority of these. If not, decide what you may need:

  • Digital kitchen scale that can measure ounces and grams
  • Measuring cups and measuring spoons
  • Mixing spoons, spatulas, vegetable peeler, garlic press, and scissors
  • Can opener and strainer
  • Chopping, cutting, and steak knives
  • Food processor, blender, or smoothie machine
  • Toaster oven (the kind that comes with rotisserie capability is nice)
  • Stove top or electric skillet
  • Gas or charcoal grill
  • Boiler pan
  • Good set of pots and pans
  • Baking dishes
  • Canning jars (for homemade salsas, dressing, marinades, and rubs)
  • Sealable bags (for storing portioned meats or other foods)
  • Mixing bowls.
  • Tea pot
  • Microwavable containers with lids
  • Shaker bottles for protein drinks on the go
  • A small cooler for carrying pre-made meals

If you're working on losing body fat, the first two items are essential. A digital food scale, as well as measuring cups and spoons, will help you portion out foods correctly so that you do not overeat.

How to Grill

Basic Cooking Skills

You don't need to be a five star chef to eat healthy. All you need to possess are some basic cooking skills. Following are some basic techniques to help you get started in your new healthy kitchen:

  • Making super protein shakes
  • Vegetable chopping for the week
  • Grilling and preparing (including marinading and seasoning) meat selections
  • Cooking rice and/or quinoa
  • Baking a potato or sweet potato

Some grilling utensils you may want to invest in are tongues, basting brush, meat thermometer, and a cleaning brush.

Easy Meat Marinade Recipes

Poultry Marinade
Steak Marinade
Pork Tenderloin Marinade
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Tamari sauce
1/4 cup Tamari sauce
1/4 cup Tamari sauce
1 tsp. sweet red chili pepper sauce (optional)
2-1/2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
3 Tbs. dijon honey mustard
3/4 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup Stevia in the Raw -OR- granulated Splenda
1 Tbs. dijon mustard
sea salt, pinch
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 onion, finely chopped or minced
black pepper, pinch
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
(This recipe is good for 2 lbs.)
1-1/2 Tbs. ground black pepper

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One Size Does NOT Fit All Diet Plan
One Size Does NOT Fit All Diet Plan | Source

Overcoming Excuses to Reform Your Kitchen

So, how do you overcome the excuses for reforming your kitchen into a healthy one? Following are a few options that may help you with each?

"I don't want to waste anything because I paid for it with my hard-earned money."

"There are starving children, and this food is going to waste."

No food has to go to waste. You are trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, you must get rid of the low quality foods. However, there are many people that are hungry. You can box up the foods and take them to the homeless, sheltered, soup kitchen, or even your local church food bank.

"My family is going to scream when they find out I've gotten rid of all their snacks."

There are several ways that you can deal with your family:

  • Sit down and have a family meeting about why you are doing a kitchen makeover before doing it. Educate them on the health benefits, and help them understand the reasons behind your goals.
  • Transition your kitchen makeover a little at a time. Make a list of what foods you will get rid of each week or even biweekly, and have a healthy replacement for each. Sometimes transitioning offsets the disgruntled attitudes, and family members may not even notice the changes as they unknowingly change their own eating habits.
  • Keep a few "treats" around, but limit your purchasing of them. Instead of buying a two bags of cookies every week, buy one bag of cookies for a month. Then blame it on the budget! Knowing that the particular bag of cookies has to last a certain amount of time will cut down on junk foods being eaten.

After your kitchen makeover, you will find that planning and preparation will help you throughout each day. You won't feel so bombarded with the thought of meals, and you will have so much more time for the other things life brings you. Besides, you will have the feeling of accomplishment that you stayed on track. By staying on course, you even receive a BONUS! You will be living a healthy lifestyle, and you may even lose any body fat that you need to lose. Following these healthy tips for your healthy kitchen will keep you on track!

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Helping those who desire it!
Helping those who desire it! | Source

About the author

Abby Campbell, BSc, SFN, SSN, CPT, is a leading professional fitness and nutrition expert, researcher, and published author. For the past 10 years, she has coached thousands of women locally and online to lose body fat and lead healthy lifestyles. Her clients have lost thousands of pounds, reclaimed health, and call her “Coach No Gimmick.” She is from Northern Virginia but now resides near Charlotte, North Carolina. Abby has been married for 20 years and has three grown daughters, one of which is autistic. She is a 19 year cancer survivor.


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