The image on the left is how I use to think about weight loss. It was always an all or nothing proposition. And I failed every time. Over the last two years, I’m now focused on changing my lifestyle and not a number on the scale. The result? That number on the scale is getting smaller. Sure there are bumps in the road, but I know the journey is long and I’ve had enough success to know I’ll reach my final destination. The image on the right is way more accurate depiction of my weight loss journey.
You’ve made your resolution to lose weight and feel inspired to start cooking healthy meals. But if your kitchen is a hot mess, it makes it all the more difficult to break bad food habits. Taking control of your kitchen is a great first step in the battle of the bulge.
That was my situation when I finally had it with my weight 2 years ago. Cooking in my kitchen was annoying. Not enough space. I could never find anything when I needed it. It was so much easier to order pizza…and pack on the pounds. After all, where you store food and how accessible it is really does decide how healthy you eat.
To lose the weight, I needed to take the fight to my kitchen. My plan – create a space without temptations and where I wanted to cook healthy foods.
I pretty much followed these 8 steps to whip my kitchen into shape. That’s not so say I’m perfect. I spent the bulk of last night reorganizing my pantry after the holiday cooking and baking frenzy. But I’ll post about that tomorrow.
Dot’s Guide To Organizing The Kitchen
Step 1. Take out the trash
Anything in my refrigerator, freezer or pantry past it’s expiration date I tossed. The same for opened boxes of cereal that went stale. This was the hardest part of organizing my kitchen. We’re not supposed to waste anything, right? I mean there are little kids starving in China. Keeping expired food isn’t safe and certainly does nothing for the starving children.
Step 2. Find a new home for unwanted food
I packed up unopened food that was still good into boxes for my local food bank. This included cereal, canned veggies and fruit, sauces, spices, pastas, breads and grains.
Step 3. Create food prep space
It was near impossible for me to cook at home because I had no room to prep my food. Appliances, cookbooks and storage jars filled my limited counter space. It was time to rearrange. Only those items we used daily sat on the counters – the coffee maker and the knife block. My cookbooks, blender, mixer and bread maker found a home in a pantry.
Step 4. Food storage
I don’t mean cabinets or pantries. Do you have enough containers (with matching lids!) for food prep, leftovers, and to take your lunch to work? Are they clear? Do they store easily (very important)? Our mismatched food storage got so annoying my husband pitched all of them one morning and then drove me to the Container Store to find stackable storage that suited our needs and small kitchen.
Step 5. Assigning everything a home
Everything in my kitchen has its place. Fruits and vegetables are on the first two shelves of my fridge front and center. Utensils used daily I placed in a jar next to the stove. You’ll find my pots and pans in a cabinet next to the range. The food storage containers are always stacked the same place, as is the canned food and my baking supplies. Any junk food for the husband is banished to the top of our tallest cabinet so I can’t see or reach it.
The key is to organize your kitchen based on how you use it.
Step 6. Plan ahead
I prepare our foods for lunch and dinner ahead of time to save money (not eating out), time (no rushing around), and make sure we’re eating healthy.
Step 7. Portion control the snacks
I stopped buying the 100-calorie snack packs because we don’t eat processed foods and they ain’t cheap. So I portion our snacks (veggies, nuts and seeds, or fruit) in small snack bags. They’re stored in the fridge or panty for easy access.
Step 8. How many points is that?
Before putting food in the pantry or fridge, I write the Weight Watchers PointsPlus value on the box. It takes a few minutes but saves time when I’m whipping a meal together.
Once you organize your kitchen, you’ll find it a lot more welcoming in cooking great, healthy meals. Plus it’s a real time-saver when you are rushing to get out the door.