Whether Re-Organizing or Renovating, Enjoy These Tips for a Healthier Kitchen
Kitchen design has more to do with health than you may think. There are certain ways to choose kitchen materials, decide on a kitchen layout, and organize your refrigerator and pantry that can either encourage healthful choices or deter them. Check out these 6 easy ideas to make your kitchen healthier without visiting the produce section.
- Choose Low-VOC cabinetry.
Cabinets are often made with materials that contain formaldehyde, which will be released as a gas into the air of your home over time. Considering how air-tight homes are, this will be something you and your family are inhaling on a daily basis.
Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound that may be related to risk of asthma and even cancer. For healthy air at home, specify that you are looking for cabinets made with no or low-VOCs when ordering cabinetry.
- Make sure your small (and necessary) appliances are accessible.
If you are not in the position to get new, green cabinets you can at least make the best use of them. Take stock of what small appliances you frequently use and rearrange your cabinet usage to make them easily accessible. A large, deep drawer to house your magic bullet, food processor, kitchen aid mixer, and popcorn maker could be the difference between making a quick, healthy snack from scratch versus buying it because your food processor is in the back of that cupboard that you can’t reach.
- Choose countertops that are non-porous and easy to clean.
Easy-to-clean and non-porous countertops will prevent cross-contamination, the spread of any bacteria amongst your food, and the leech of any materials from the actual countertop into your food or the air.
- Master your kitchen work triangle.
You should be able to draw an equal-sided triangle (or any triangle at the very least) between your sink, your stove-top and oven, and your refrigerator. The ease that you move about your kitchen will reflect your kitchen experience and either encourage or discourage your kitchen time. Be aware of your triangle!
- Clear for healthy, opaque for junky.
In your pantry and refrigerator, store healthy items in clear containers and less healthy items in opaque containers. You may even go as far as prepping vegetables and fruits to make them an easy choice i.e. wash and portion salad greens and display in clear containers or bags to encourage making salads for lunch; wash, cut, and portion carrots and celery and display in clear containers, portion out mixed nuts and display in clear baggies. This also applies to keeping a bowl of apples and oranges on the counter to increase the likelihood that you’ll grab one.
This also holds true for dinner staples. Store pulses and grains in clear containers and make them highly visible in your pantry. Store cookies, cakes, and chips in opaque containers and deliberately make them hard to reach. You will thank me for this one.
- Everyday items should be visible.
You use your best chef’s knife, salt and pepper, olive oil, garlic, onions, and herbs and spices in almost every homemade meal. Make your life easier by housing these staples in places that are easy to reach. Good, sharp knives, salt and pepper, and olive oil can be displayed gorgeously on a counter top. Garlic and onions should be in a dark, cool drawer not too far away.
Herbs and spices should be in clear containers that are neatly labeled and displayed ideally at eye-level. You want to encourage the addition of these to your dishes for flavour as opposed to sauces or butter.