The United States is in the midst of an obesity epidemic and your kitchen could play a role in this increasing problem. According to the CDC, 30% of children aged 2-19 are considered overweight or obese so organizing your kitchen to create a healthy lifestyle and eating habits is a must for the overall well-being for you and your family.
In order to eat healthy, you must plan out meals. Shop for one or two weeks at a time so that you will save time and money. Make certain to have a very detailed list and stick to that list. Taking the extra ten minutes each week or so to sit down and plan out your meals gives you the confidence to know that you have healthy, delicious meals all ready to go for the next 7-14 days. Place all recipes that have been pulled in a convenient location in the kitchen so that they are quickly accessible. If you don’t have the time to sit down and plan out your own meals, there is a website, Emeals.com that will do it for you. Just choose a meal plan based on your family size and preferred eating style and Emeals will send you weekly menus with simple directions and a matching grocery list. This company offers many healthy plan choices.
Another kitchen tip that can lead to healthier eating is to organize your refrigerator and freezer. Purchase plastic containers to corral similar items together. Finding healthy item choices will be much easier as well as finding space in the fridge/freezer when putting away the groceries. Place washed fruit and cut veggies up front so that family members can grab them when they are looking for a quick snack. In addition, get into the habit of cleaning your refrigerator out every week on trash day. Fruits and veggies that are no longer fresh should be tossed out as well as leftovers that are over four days old. If you stick to this routine, you will have an organized refrigerator and freezer that will offer you plenty of room every week or two when you come home with a car full of groceries.
The same rule applies for the pantry too. Place like items together and use bins, lazy susans, canisters and other storage containers to help bring your pantry into understandable order. To organize your pantry you will need to first take everything out and place all items into groups. Breakfast, snacks, seasonings and sauces, pasta and rice, prepared meals, paper goods, drinks, cans and sweets are just a few of the many categories that you can create. After making your groupings, begin re-loading everything back into your pantry. Remember to place bulky bagged items in large baskets or containers that can easily slide in and out on the shelf and make certain to label each container. Labels are a must if you want the rest of the family to help you stay organized in the pantry. Having a pantry that is in order, where you know what you have on hand, will help save time and money.
Arranging the rest of your kitchen items by frequency of use and purpose will make your kitchen run smoothly. Everyday dishes should be close at hand while special occasion items should be up on the highest shelves. Place knives and cutting boards near the sink, pots and pans near the stove, and mixing bowls and spoons in a prep area. Try having a “sharps” drawer just for knives and other cutting utensils. Choose categories based on what makes sense to you.
In addition to these tips, remember to clean up as you cook. Having a cluttered, messy kitchen where unwashed items are laying around leads to disorganization and leaves everyone feeling sluggish and uninterested in preparing a healthy meal.
About Karen Duncan:
Jax4Kids welcomes new columnist Karen Duncan. Each month, Karen will share her tips on keeping your busy home and lives organized. Karen and her team help people create systems to more effectively manage their time, space and information to accomplish their goals and to enable them to enjoy their lives. Areas of expertise include designing and organizing small business and home offices and residences. She and her team have served hundreds of clients in Jacksonville and the Beaches since 2003. She is one of two Certified Professional Organizers® (CPO®) in North Florida having met specific qualifications proven through examination and client interaction. Ms. Duncan is also and Productive Environment Specialist™, specializing in organizational solutions for businesses and home offices as well as a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers’ (NAPO) Golden Circle, a prestigious designation available to NAPO members who have worked as a professional organizer for 5 or more years. Prior to starting her professional organizing business, she was a Market Development Manager and a Sales Representative in the specialty chemical industry. She has earned a BS in Engineering and MBA in Marketing.
Karen Duncan, Certified Professional Organizer®
Productive Environment Specialist™
Organized Home / Organized Office