Monday, October 13, 2014

Our Kitchen Makeover

Today I want to share with you how to reorganize your kitchen, pantry and fridge so that success is not just simple and convenient but visually enticing!

The right tools in the right places!
Each tool that you use on a daily and even mealtime basis should be kept close to the area where you prep your food. I suggest having the following all in one drawer, plastic container, or cupboard for quick and easy access:
  1. Paring knife
  2. Vegetable peeler
  3. Measuring cup
  4. Food Scale
  5. Snack size plastic bags
  6. Plastic 1 cup size reusable containers

Warning: Open bags can lead to MUFFIN TOPS! We all know we are going to keep reaching into that bag of snacks or treats and eat well beyond an individual portion if that bag is open and hanging around your pantry. Here's what I do: Repackage bulk snacks-say, raw almonds into baggies of 14 almonds. When you come home from food shopping take the time to divvy up food by serving sizes. Use plastic bags or storage containers to organize your food into the right portions. For example, a portion size of pretzel sticks is 10. Put 10 in a little bag and put them in the pantry at eye level. This makes it simple for grab and go snacking!!!

A recent Cornell University Study found that we consume 90 percent of our food mindlessly. We simply eat because it is placed in front of us or because we've placed it in front of ourselves. It's time to get conscious about what-and how much- we consume. We all have been in that place where you sit down to do some work, or watch TV and all of a sudden we are surrounded by empty bags and crumbs!

My suggestion is to open up your fridge and pantry. Then donate anything that a well-tuned athlete wouldn't eat. If they are already opened? Dump them. No sense in having these tempting foods in your home where you and your family can get to them. If that box of cookies for your kids is constantly calling your name, ditch it. Stepping into your kitchen shouldn't cause you panic and anxiety! Make it easier on yourself to make health choices by eliminating the temptation of poor choices.

Food marketers play into our impulsive choices by paying millions of dollars every year to have name brand products placed on the right shelf at the right level. Think about it, all of these advertisers and companies are bagillioanires and the world is obese. We are not buying because we took the time to read a label, we are used to buying because something looks pretty. And why do you think all the sugary cereals are placed at your chest level on the shelves at the grocery store? It's because that happens to be the eye line of a child sitting in a shopping cart. Clever!!!

Placement!!! You can do this too with the same techniques in your pantry or fridge.

When we stand in front of the fridge, we tend to grab whatever food takes the least amount of time to prepare and that "looks good." The healthy stuff, like fresh produce, we hid in the drawer that's difficult to get to and even easier to forget! So your goal is this. When you get home clean and display your fruit in clear plastic containers or bowls. Place berries and raw veggies at eye level. You can even buy pre cut veggies if you don't have time!!! Arrange your greek yogurt near the berries and veggies. Store cottage cheese nearby as well. Place healthy whole foods at eye level near the front of the shelf.

When you are looking to eat clean, build muscle, loose weight - hard-cooked egg whites are a great source of lean protein. They're supper easy to prep, meaning they are an easy grab and go meal! Boil a dozen eggs on Sunday night, then peel and place them in a large storage bag. Or you can remove the yolk, dice up your egg whites, dump some salsa in there and BAM! Or you can just eat your egg whites on the go whole!

Other options for fast protein sources to be stored at eye level: prepackaged tuna packets. Prepackaged grilled chicken or turkey, or ham.

Now when you find yourself staring into your fridge hoping something will just prepare itself and jump onto your plate, you'll see all the stuff you should be eating. It's washed, cut, enticing and ready to go!!

Replace not so good with fantastic: Look in your refrigerator for regular staples. Now, think about this - are you willing to make changes? Are you willing to try a healthier alternative. Do you make the kids PB&J every week? Would they notice if you picked up sugar free or low sugar jam or jelly? Would they notice if you used Sunflower seed or Almond butter? Probably not! I love cheese but instead of buying a brick of it you can stock up on individually packaged string cheese! They are portion controlled and appropriately sized. Who has the time to look at the packaging to figure out how many ounces is a single serving?

What about trying lower sugar or organic version of many of your regular condiments? Ketchup now comes in all natural with no high fructose corn syrup, dijon mustard you can buy with no added sugar. I substitute sour cream with greek yogurt all of the time. I also never ever cook with butter! Instead I use coconut oil cooking spray or olive oil in a spritzer bottle!

If you are not sure which brand or version is better choice wise then use an app like Fooducate which allows you to scan the bar codes of two products and do a side by side self comparison. Each item is given a grade based on its nutritional content, which makes it convenient for quick decisions.


Working on the Pantry Makeover

Most of the healthiest foods will be perishable and stored in the refrigerator. Once you have that in order, then we need to gut your pantry.

First, decide what you would go to the pantry instead of your fridge. We go for carbs, something fast, something crunchy, something sweet. That's fine, but we need to have healthier temptations - not load up the pantry with chips and cookies.

Those foods that are lower on the good for you list can go in the hard to reach spaces, behind everything or up way to high that you will need a ladder. You will tend to not go through all that just for a chip. 

I use the immediate eye level and chest level shelves to place the healthiest nonperishable items. Everything I buy, I try to take the time to remove it from the packaging, package it out into servings or display them in inexpensive containers. It keeps everything organized and makes choosing healthy so dummy proof that the foods almost jump into my hand.

So here is what you can find on my shelves:

Brown Rice Unsalted rice cakes
Unsalted Raw Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts
Instant rolled Oats
Protein Powder
Canned Low Sodium black beans
Canned low sodium diced tomatos
Instant Brown Rice
Dried Fruit such as craisins, raisins, cherries
High quality protein bars

Will you be able to find cake mix and cookies in my house? Umm Yes....But you probably will have to move a few things around to find it!! Outta sight-outta mind!!!

Lastly, put things where people know to look for them. I basically stock the same stuff all the time. Does everyone in my house remember where I put the same things over and My family is special. :) They like to ask me all the time, i think it is more because they love to hear my beautiful voice....LOL. 

I maintain a list and check off what i need. But there is no mystery. Does my family still expect to open the pantry and see loads of chips and cookies? Yes they do....will they see some of it? They will in healthier versions - without the original packaging so what will they know...It will take them a little longer to get on the clean eats band wagon. Once they continue to eat healthy foods and rid their bodies of all the sugars and toxins, they are no longer going to crave it. They will not look into the pantry and expect to see oodles and oodles of junk. I would prefer my family not to eat from the pantry. The pantry is where emergency foods live. Let's face it, with few exceptions, just about everything in your pantry is processed! The healthy stuff is in the fridge!!!

Good luck! Don't hesitate to message me for additional information or tips to help you get started with your own kitchen makeover!!!

Things to do right now to get started!!!

Remove high fat, high sugar temptations from the kitchen.
Survey the refrigerator for frequently consumed foods that can be swapped out by lower fat and reduced calorie alternatives.
Stock up on small plastic food bags, snack containers, and clear plastic fruit bowls for display.
Arrange prep tools in an easy to reach place. The fewer steps, the better!
Spring clean your fridge, make room for the fresh stuff.
Divide snacks into individual servings and arrange in the front and center of the pantry!

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