For many of us, a New Year’s resolution looks like a decision to exercise more, eat less, or lose weight. But in our quest for an ideal, it’s important that we remember that health, not a specific weight or size, should be at the root of how we treat our bodies.
Better health choices begin in our home kitchens.
Here are five kitchen practices for better health for your entire household in 2019.
1. Put healthy choices on display
Make healthful choices the first thing your household sees when they walk into the kitchen hunting for a snack. Put colorful fruit—apples, oranges, grapefruit, bananas, pomegranates—in a basket or a bowl on the counter. Store nuts, granola, dark chocolate, whole-grain crackers, and dried fruits in glass canisters on the counter so that anyone coming in for a snack can’t say they couldn’t find a healthful
In the refrigerator, put pre-cut veggies and hummus, grapes, berries, yogurt, and cheese right up front. And if you have young children, make sure to put them at eye level of your little ones.
2. Make water easily accessible
Staying hydrated to key to bodily health. Though juices and nectar and tea can certainly be a fun way to mix it up, making sure your family drinks plenty of water is key. I like to keep a pretty carafe of water and small juice glasses on the counter at all times. Sometimes I’ll even put a drink station on a styled bar cart—inviting my household to go for water first.
3. Keep a chalkboard in the kitchen
I like to keep a chalkboard in my kitchen to provide healthy snacking ideas, let everyone know what’s for dinner this week, ask for suggestions, and keep a running shopping list.
This practice helps everyone in the family play an active role in healthful eating. Let your kids help pack their lunches or choose their own breakfasts. This will help instill healthy eating habits they will carry throughout their lives.
4. Clean out every week
Take ten minutes once each week to purge your fridge, freezer, and cabinets. This doesn’t have to be an exhaustive deep clean. Just a few minutes to take stock of what’s there and what’s not. Pull to the front anything that needs to be eaten before it goes bad (use that chalkboard to let everyone know!) and use this time to start a shopping list for the week.
This is a simple practice that can help you stay organized and also take note about your family’s favorite, and not so favorite, snacks.
5. Plan grocery trips in advance
By cleaning out every week, you can easily plan for grocery store trips. Just like you should never go to the store hungry, I also believe you should never go to the store without a list. This will help you make more conscious food choices and stick to your budget.
When you’re at the store, gravitate toward fresh food aisles, like produce and dairy, and check out the grains aisle as well. Go light on prepackaged food and meats. Don’t forget to check out food labels to ensure your food are low in saturated fats, sugars, and artificial ingredients.
Matilda Davies lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she writes about health and wellness. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, hiking, and walking her dogs.