Items for New Year’s Good Habits Part 3: Healthy Cooking and Kitchens For The New Year - The Local Flea
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Items for New Year’s Good Habits Part 3: Healthy Cooking and Kitchens For The New Year

Items for New Year’s Good Habits Part 3: Healthy Cooking and Kitchens For The New Year

Tara Dickinson
8 minute read

Continuing with the topic of implementing good habits for the new year, outlined here are ways to make cooking and eating healthier easier. If your brain gets overwhelmed with too much information or too many tasks, it might feel threatened and then, there goes your perfectly laid plans and goals. Thus, physically setting up your kitchen with the tools, food supplies, and gadgets you need to make the switch as comfortable as possible will give you the biggest leg-up on your road to new year new habits success. Without further delay, here are your tips for making healthy foods at home as easy as possible.

healthyHEALTHY COOKING

​​Stock the Staples

A stocked pantry is a key element of successful home cooking. A kitchen staple is a food item that has a fairly long shelf life and is usually bought in larger quantities for multiple meals.

  • Browse through recipes that appeal to you and see which items you might use more often.
  • It is easier and more efficient to buy these items in sizable quantities that will last several weeks or longer.

Freezer

  • A variety of frozen vegetables.
  • A variety of frozen fruits.
  • Frozen chopped onions and peppers (either your own prepped or store-bought).
  • Keep freezer tape and a permanent marker handy so you can date items.

Pantry

  • Assorted pastas
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Broth- vegetable, chicken, and beef
  • Canned tomato products
  • Cooking spray
  • Flours- wheat, coconut, almond
  • Grains-rice, quinoa, couscous, oats, barley
  • Legumes- all sorts of beans: black, split, green, white, pinto
  • Packaged seafood- chopped clams, tuna, salmon, sardines, anchovies
  • Spices
  • Sweetener- monk fruit, coconut sugar, honey, organic maple syrup
  • Vegetable oil- olive, coconut, and avocado are the healthiest varieties

Refrigerator

  • Butter
  • Condiments-hot sauces, mustards, ketchup, salad dressings
  • Eggs
  • Lemon juice and lime juice
  • Minced garlic

How to Make a Weekly Healthy Food Plan

  • Plan ahead and pick out a few recipes for the week.
  • Use recipes that can do double duty.
    • For example, cook chicken breasts for one meal.
    • Make extra chicken to shred for another meal of chicken tacos.
    • Another example, brown two pounds of ground turkey, one to use for a pasta dish on Monday and the other pound for soup at the end of the week.
    • When cooking quinoa and roasted vegetables for dinner, make extra for a lunch salad.
  • Get family members involved by having each person commit to making one meal a week.
  • Day of the week themes can make it fun and easier for planning, like Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays and Homemade Pizza Fridays.
  • Try to make home meals as appealing as eating out.

Spice of Life

What’s a meal without some spice and seasoning?! These little ingredients can make or break a delish dinner.

  • Put spices in uniform jars and label them.
  • Don’t be intimidated to create new spice combinations.
  • Adding flavor with spices means using less salt, which can help improve blood pressure and heart health.

Plant a Kitchen Garden

Get inspired and plan now for a season’s worth of healthy eating from your very own kitchen windowsill.

  • Mason jars make an excellent home for your favorite herbs like parsley, mint, or basil.
  • You may be surprised at just how much can grow in a couple of jars.

Prepare Outdoor Gear

With warmer weather just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to restock your picnic and barbecue supplies.

  • A proper meat thermometer is a must, whether you’re cooking inside or outside at the grill. It’s the best way to make sure food is cooked safely.
  • Do you have enough grilling utensils?
  • If you haven’t been a grilling person in the past, you might consider it for the new year. It’s a really fun way to prepare meals together and imparts delicious flavors to your meals.

It’s About Simplicity & Fun

If the kitchen isn’t chartered territory for you, remember, to make a habit truly stick, you need to take it slow and keep it simple.

  • Work on building your skills with practice.
  • Recipes can be found on the web in categories for beginners.
  • Most importantly, have fun; make your kitchen an enjoyable place where you can unwind, be creative, and take care of your health.

GADGETS- Equip Yourself in the Kitchen

Another aspect of making your new cooking and eating healthy habit for the new year stick is to make sure your kitchen is properly outfitted for success.

  1. Take inventory to see if you have at least basic kitchen equipment.
  2. Basics include:
    1. Cutting boards
    2. Cookware and bakeware
    3. Cooking utensils
    4. Knives
    5. Measuring spoons and cups
    6. Mixing bowls
    7. Peelers
    8. Storage containers
    9. Potholders
    10. Towels
  3. There’s no need to go to a fancy cooking store to find decent kitchen equipment. And more importantly, it’s the eco-conscious and sustainable way of outfitting your kitchen when you buy second hand.
    1. Shop garage sales, thrift, and discount stores.
    2. Gradually building up your kitchen equipment can be fun.

Air Fryer

Everything tastes better fried, there really is no two ways about it. But fried food is really not good for us. To get the same delish taste with 85% less fat, using an air fryer is your answer. This cooker can crisp and roast your ingredients at up to 400 degrees with minimal oil. So you can go guilt-free on the fried chicken and french fry dinner you love.

Blender

There is some debate if every kitchen needs a blender or not IF you already have a food processor and/or a bullet type gadget. If you are a daily smoothie person, then by all means a good quality blender is a great appliance to have on hand. They are also extremely useful in whipping up soups, sauces, salad dressings, nut butters, and more in a snap.

Bullets

Many chefs use a smaller version of a blender, typically called a Bullet. One, simply because they’re smaller, easier to clean, and great for quick on-the-go blending needs. And two, they are compact and powerful with the ability to pulverize fruits, nuts and vegetables into creamy textures.

Food Processor

For many this is the go-to kitchen appliance for so many tasks. A food processor replaces the manual effort of chopping or slicing hard root vegetables and many other tasks with its multiple attachment blades.

Glass Storage Containers

Preparing food for more than one meal is one of the best ways to establish successful healthy eating goals. When you have prepared meal options at the ready you are less inclined to reach for poorer choices when hungry. Here’s where good quality food storage containers come into play. We suggest glass to avoid using any plastic. One, because plastic can leach chemicals into your food and two, because plastic is simply bad for the environment all around. Let’s make the new year as close to plastic-free as we can as well as our good cooking and healthy eating habits.

Instant Pot

If spending time in the kitchen is not really your pleasure or you’re simply running short on time, this little device can be a game-changer. It allows you to program a cooking time and method, toss in your meal’s ingredients and enjoy a hot, delicious dinner in no time at all. Legumes (chilis), stews, and roasted proteins will be just the start to your healthy culinary creations.

Juicer

There really is no comparison to fresh juice versus anything you buy in a store. The wallop of fresh nutrients in a single serving is so high that your body will thank you for taking the time. Forget juice concentrates, artificial flavors, or additional sugars. Fresh apple juice-carrot juice is so delicious you’ll never go back to the pre-made stuff. You can also get in a full-day serving of vegetables when you choose to juice.

Knives

Subpar knives make it hard to chop anything. And when it’s difficult to cut vegetables, you probably won’t want to spend time cooking them. That’s why the foundation of any well stocked kitchen is a set of knives that are sharp and durable. This is one area of kitchen gadgets where you might want to spend a little for at least one to two good quality knives.

Spiralizer

​​Spiralized veggies like zucchini or carrots are a great vehicle for chunky pasta sauces instead of the high starchy carbs you might choose with regular pastas. These are great for your Meatless Monday dishes and a fun and healthy version of spaghetti the kids will love while also getting a dose of daily vegetable nutrients.

Steamers

Steamers are very easy to use and allow you to cook anything from rice to eggs to fish and lobster at the press of a button and in a very short amount of time. This way of cooking is also an excellent method to reduce your fried food content.

 

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