Making Good on New Year's Resolutions: #2 Eat Healthier

Brian Hogan
Jan 13, 2020 11:45:00 AM

The holidays are over and you’ve resolved to end the overindulging and over imbibing. This is the year you stop ordering take-out, snacking on chips and candy and begin eating more whole, unprocessed foods. 

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Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

Maybe you’ve just completed your first grocery run of the new year and you realize you have no idea where you are going to store it all. Maybe you’ve started cooking and you are finding yourself awkwardly moving around the kitchen and nothing is going right. Or, maybe you just walked into your kitchen and walked out, because it just makes you feel stressed upon entering.  

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Kitchen by Hogan Design & Construction, Geneva, IL

Cooking healthier at home doesn’t have to be overwhelming with the help of the right kitchen design.

It’s time to put an end to common design problems that keep you from enjoying your kitchen and the cooking process.

1. Improve your Storage to Reduce Stress

It has been proven that clutter is a big driver of stress and the kitchen tends to be one of the biggest culprits in an on-going battle within the home. Ensuring you have adequate and appropriate storage can go a long way in reducing the mess that may be preventing you from cooking. 

  • Take your cabinets to the ceiling. It’s a great way to increase storage. Put less frequently used items in the high spots. Keep everyday items easily accessible. 
  • A walk-in pantry can be used for more than just food and paper goods. The right shelving system can create a great place to store smaller kitchen appliances and keep them off the countertops (i.e. mixers, toasters, Crock-Pots, rice cookers, food processors). 
  • Convert stationary cabinet shelving to roll-outs. It will eliminate having to dig for cookware and non-perishable items. Add vertical dividers instead of horizontal shelves to easily separate bakeware, cutting boards, and other long, narrow items. 
  • Use narrow spaces for pull-out spice racks or a hidden knife block, freeing up space on the countertops. 
  • Add organization components to drawers to keep everything in its place and provide a place for everything. 
  • Devote or create some space for non-cooking activities (i.e. homework, bills, and family scheduling). Add a desk or designated office area. If space is limited, convert a cabinet to a pull out file for paperwork and allocate a drawer for office supplies.
  • Upgrade your refrigerator to ensure you have space where you need it most. There are more options available today. Learning which one is right for you can help you maintain an organized kitchen.

2. Increase Counter Space to Make Food Prep Easier

If you’re still in need of countertop space after tackling storage, there are solutions for any budget.

  • Use Existing Surfaces: Get an over-the-sink cutting board which increases your prep area while making clean up a cinch. Have custom burner covers made for your stovetop, or make your own, that function as additional countertop space when the stove is not in use.
  • Use Existing Space: Install a kitchen island to introduce a great surface for food preparation. If you’re limited in floor space, you can get a narrow rolling cart or butcher block that can be moved where needed and stored to the side later. Need more ideas? Take a look at this design article on kitchen islands for small spaces. 
  • Expand your Space: Open up the wall between the kitchen and an adjacent dining/living space to add a peninsula. It will provide more counter space as well as create a nice serving and/or dining area that connects you to others outside the room.

3. Fix the Flow of your Kitchen to Save Time

Finding the right flow for your work patterns in the kitchen can save you time and frustration. Today, many people still use the trusted workspace triangle. Others argue that work zones in the kitchen are more imperative to creating a better cooking environment. The important thing is to find out what works for you. 

For a smoother running kitchen, here are a few considerations to help with kitchen efficiency. 

  • Waste Bin(s) - Should they be under or next to the sink or located in the center island where you prep all your food? Should you put recyclables and refuse near the back door and a compost bin near your veggie and fruit prep areas? By anticipating your needs, you can make clean up faster and easier, avoiding the mess (think of drippings on your floor) associated with the transfer of scraps to a misplaced bin.
  • Coffee/Tea Station - Ensure you have the right outlets and counter space near a tap. It will be easy to fill your carafes or water tanks on those early mornings when you’re already running late.
  • Cleaning Supplies - Leaving an area under your sink for kitchen cleaning supplies makes cleaning up as you go much easier than having to run into another room to get your soap and sprays. 
  • Ladder - Find a hidden, accessible spot for a two-step or step stool to get out of reach items.

4. Update the Aesthetic to Create A Welcoming Space

If your current design is not working for you and your finances allow for it, get started on that remodeling project. However, if that is not doable, there are smaller changes that can be made to improve your existing space on a limited budget. 

  • Color & Decor - A new paint color goes a long way to revive a room. Choose a hue on the wall that keeps you zen and won’t get old in one month. If you go with a neutral, you can always add accents of color. Purchase new bar stools or cushions to quickly create a new look. If your cabinets have seen better days, have them refaced or painted. 
  • New backsplash - Tired of looking at dirty walls or tile that is not to your taste? A new backsplash can refresh your kitchen’s overall look. When choosing materials, think about how you cook. If you use your stovetop often, a highly texturized or grooved selection might make clean up more difficult. 
  • Lighting Design - Add layered lighting to ensure you have the best light for all kitchen activities. Change outdated fixtures to modernize the room.
  • Greenery - Plants instantly add life to any space. If you’re green-thumb challenged, choose succulents that require less maintenance or potted herbs. You’re more likely to prune and water plants that contribute to your cooking. 

Big or small changes can improve your mood in the kitchen. Just determine what is feasible for you and get cooking. 

Looking for more inspiration to continue your commitment to healthy eating? Visit HelpGuide.org. The linked article provides great information on the benefits of cooking at home and tips to make the process more enjoyable. 

Happy and Healthy Eating All!