The shift to a Clean Eating lifestyle starts very close to where your heart is – your kitchen!
For you to enjoy the many benefits long-term, you must make the preparations to set up your kitchen with your Clean Eating goals in mind.
Doing so will make it easier for you to wake up to healthy meals and continue throughout your day nourished with clean eating dishes too.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
― Benjamin Franklin
But how exactly do you purge your kitchen and transform it into a Clean Eating Zone? Here are a few tips you’d want to follow:
Step 1: Plan out your kitchen.
Before you start literally clearing out your kitchen and pantry space, it is best to come up with an ideal layout. No need for costly renovations – just create a ‘blueprint’ of where you want to place particular food and tools depending on your cooking needs and daily routine.
Make it a point that the ingredients and tools you use often are stored within easy reach of the cooking area.
Allow a section where you can set up your favorite Clean Eating snacks. This way, you know you have some healthy eats to enjoy when you just need a quick bite, or when you need to fight off a craving. I like to leave plenty of nutrient-rich snacks within easy access for the kiddos, so think about incorporating this into your kitchen. We eat what is readily available and within sight. 🙂
A well-planned kitchen layout makes meal prepping easier and makes your Clean Eating transition as smooth as possible.
If you need a little kitchen inspiration:
Step 2. It’s kitchen clearing time!
Now that you know where to place your food, tools, and other clean eating must-haves – it’s time to eliminate the food you don’t want to keep in your kitchen.
Remove as much processed food as possible. Anything with chemical additives should go. This can be done in steps (over time) or all at once if you are ready to make the permanent change.
Start reading labels – if it has more than five ingredients or contains ingredients ending in -ose (that’s added or refined sugar!), consider giving them away and replacing them with cleaner substitutes.
Think: Remove packaged cookies, chips, sugary cereals, soda, prepacked sauces, and the like. You can later replace them with cookies you made with clean ingredients, sweet potato chips, overnight oats, lemon water, and homemade sauces.
Don’t leave temptation lying around. Again, when you don’t have it, you can’t eat it.
Step 3. Get your tools ready.
Clean Eating is more about cooking than buying ready-made food. This is why it’s very important to have the right ‘tools’ in your kitchen so you can prepare a variety of clean dishes.
Here are a few you might want to invest in (if you don’t have them yet) in addition to your usual kitchen appliances:
- a powerful blender
- a food processor
- a spiralizer
- high-quality non-stick cookware
- BPA-free storage containers (in varying sizes)
- mason jars
These will be very helpful in preparing a wide range of dishes, and can do wonders in transforming your good ol’ grains, lean meats, veggies, and fruits into mouth-watering meals.
Make sure that these tools are easy to find, and stored in plain view so you don’t have to rummage through kitchen cabinets when you want to whip up a meal.
Storage containers are must-haves, especially for meal prepping. They are also essential for properly storing some of your fresh produce.
Step 4. Stock up on clean ingredients.
When you have the right tools, the next step is to make sure that you have the right ingredients too.
Vegetables are an absolute must. Write up your meal plan for the week, and buy depending on those recipes. Choose recipes and ingredients that are in-season, and you’ll save money while enjoying produce at its peak. If you have favorites, you can purchase a bit more so you’re ready to put together those dishes anytime.
The same goes for fresh fruit and berries. They are ‘life-savers’ when you need to satiate your craving for sweets. Frozen fruit makes for an instant delicious treat!
When shopping for meat choose; mostly lean cuts, free-range poultry, grass-fed beef , and wild caught fish are some of the better options. When you spot a meat sale, STOCK UP, meat can be frozen and used for several weeks.
For dairy, unsweetened, grass fed, and organic, are your best picks when available. I always shop the sales and purchase dairy very sparingly; almost more as a treat than for its nutritional value.
Always be ready with your favorite fresh/dried herbs and natural, low-sodium seasonings. Having raw honey, stevia, and pure maple syrup are great to have handy when you need to sweeten up a dish.
In general and for all food items, choose items that are as close to their natural state as possible.
Step 5. Keep your kitchen inspiring.
There will be days when you’ll be tempted to just open a box of instant mac-and-cheese. There will be times when you just want to order some greasy fast food. (And immediately regret it afterward)
Avoid these scenarios and keep yourself motivated to Eat Clean by putting up beautiful, appetizing photos of your favorite clean dishes around your kitchen and dining area. Keep colorful produce on your countertops.
Inspiring fitness and nutrition quotes are great to have around too – not just for your daily diet, but for your regular dose of positive energy.
Print out your favorite recipes and have them readily accessible near the cooking area. Having a dock for your smartphone or tablet in your kitchen may be helpful too.
These five basic steps can make your kitchen your favorite place for clean and delicious food. It may take a bit of extra effort to make the ‘transformation’ happen – but it’s all going to be worth it.