Focusing On Healthy Eating
HOW TO COOK UP AN INVITING KITCHEN
If you’re like me, your kitchen is the heart of your home. It’s where everyone tends to congregate to enjoy each other’s company, satisfy our hunger, engage in candid family conversations, share love and laughter, and commiserate over our challenges. And today, with so many of us focusing on healthy eating to fight obesity and food-driven health issues, meal planning and prep have become real priorities. This typically includes prepping lots of fresh fruits and veggies, which can take a bit more counter space. An organized, inviting kitchen can make the process less cumbersome and more enjoyable, and even easier to entice other family members to help with the tasks. Bonus!
So what can you do to make your kitchen more inviting and functional? First of all, create an organized, efficient kitchen where everything that you need
in your day-to-day meal preparation is readily accessible but, preferably, hidden away. When we’re working with clients designing their kitchens, we try to leave plenty of counter space free to use as work surfaces, which makes it easier to prepare meals, but also encourages “helpers” to assist the primary cook. And, as I’m sure you know, when family members assist with preparing healthy recipes, they are much more likely to be excited to eat it, and proud of themselves in the process. But when the counters are completely covered with small appliances, mail, homework projects and miscellaneous items, it’s discouraging to even think about cooking and can be a difficult (and irritating) process for both you and your helpers.
“But what about all of the stuff that lives in my kitchen now?”, you say. Well, this is the time to seriously edit, edit, edit. Go through each item in your kitchen and give away, sell or donate all of those items cluttering your cabinets, countertops, drawers and pantry that you never use. And then, neatly organize the leftover ones that you do. You’ll be amazed at how much space you can free up, seriously. If it’s still feeling a bit cluttered, rarely-used items can be stored in cabinets or closets outside of the kitchen. For example, I love repurposing a coat or linen closet (or even the space under the stairs) into an “entertaining” storage space that holds trays, platters, serving bowls, small appliances, candles and seasonal cocktail napkins. It’s fun to organize it (okay, call me crazy, but it’s truly so satisfying) and easy to access these items that you don’t use on a daily basis when you need them. Another trick? Create an assigned “Beverage Station” in the kitchen, which allows multiple people to use the space and help with preparations without tripping over each other. And, on that note, if you’d like help setting the table, placing the silverware drawer right below where someone is chopping and prepping probably isn’t the best location for it.
And finally, decorating your kitchen and breakfast area completes the inviting feel. Countertops, cabinets, flooring, lighting, furniture and accessories can all play important roles in how much you and your family enjoy the space. It’s proven that our surroundings can greatly affect our mood, so I recommend creating an environment that’s visually and functionally pleasing to enhance your kitchen experience. (If you need some assistance, a professional designer is skilled in helping you pull it all together.) In the right environment you and your family and friends can work towards creating a healthier diet and lifestyle. And yes, you’re nourishing your loved ones bodies and souls (including your own), but you’re also making some wonderful, lifetime memories in the process.