The Kitchen should be set up to encourage movement and to promote healthy eating inexpensively.
This includes the utensils, the foods and the layout. You should have a nice place to prepare foods and it should be easy to fix delicious healthy foods.
First is the foods. If you have easy snacking unhealthy foods available, you will take the
path of least resistance and eat them. You must get rid of things like cookies, chips and ice cream. Follow the mantra, “No White Foods.” Added (white) sugars, products with white flour, potatoes, white rice should be banned and thrown out. Then eliminate highly processed foods. Corn chips, Lunch meat, hot dogs and other easy meats should be forbidden. You should end up with no sweets, salties, sodas, and snack meats.
What you need in the kitchen are 100% whole wheat and other whole grain bread products that include woven wheat crackers and tortillas. A second food group is nuts and seeds (peanuts are a legume, not nuts) Any nuts are good, and almost as good are nut butters. Almond and cashew are the most common. Butters are a good option if the dentist has said to not eat nuts. Fruits are the third food group to maintain. The darker the fruit, the healthier. Thus berries are the healthiest, while plums, watermelon, papaya, mango, oranges are all very good. Apples and bananas, while white, are still in the good for you category. Next is your beans, possibly the healthiest foods of all. It is no accident that beans, chickpeas, and lentils were part of the food package of the first farmer (adam.) Dried beans are not readily available for snacking, and canned beans still need some help to become a snack, but both peanut butter and soy butter are readily available. Finally are the vegetables. Again, focus on the dark veggies. Have a plan for easy healthy snacks so you do not get tempted between meals
Next, look at your cooking utensils. We have turned to teflon pots and pans, where in the decades previous, the cheap pans were aluminum. Aluminum is a poison. Only when it is combined with silicon to make mud is it neutralized and safe. One of the characteristics of Alzheimer’s is the aluminum deposits in the brain. As soon as a teflon pan is scratched, Aluminum starts dissolving and entering the food. All of us have scratched teflon pans we use. Copper is also a poison, so it should never be inside the pot. There are two types of pots and pans that are good. Stainless steel and cast iron. Properly seasoned cast iron is nearly as slippery as teflon, adds a little beneficial iron to every meal, and because it will last a lifetime, will be much cheaper in the long run. Also good are pottery and glass. Either makes good ovenware or crockpots.
Small Utensils are also important. Why spend a lot on fancy spoons if wooden ones work. They are cheap and are bacteria resistant. Plastic ones are convenient, but as soon as they are scratched, they have places for bacteria to hide. With steel and iron pans, you can return to steel utensils that last longer and are cheaper in the long run. Similarly, wooden or bamboo cutting boards are better that plastic ones. A few decent serrated knives are fine. Nothing expensive, but serrated ones stay sharp much longer. Don’t bother with the specialty knives you would use once a month. Your general purpose knives will do all the jobs almost as fast.
Finally consider your appliances. Do you really need the electric can opener? If you can use the manual one, it clears your counter and adds a little to your daily movement. That electric wine bottle opener, the electric rice cooker are rarely used utensils and the mechanical wine opener and the general use pot can do about as good for most people. The point is to keep expenses down, keep counters clear and easy to use, and increase your movement by using hand operated devices.
The kitchen should benefit you in several ways. It should encourage you to spend a little
more time on your feet, to eat healthier food, and be a pleasant place to spend time.
I have encouraged you to get rid of those quick junk foods. You will find yourself wandering into the kitchen looking for a quick snack. There are several that you can make:
1) A peanut or nut butter on whole wheat bread sandwich, but with fruit (Bananas, strawberries, blueberries, grapes or raisins) instead of Jam
2) Unsweetened Greek yogurt with fruits and granola or muesli. Add a little honey, molasses, or low cal sweetener.
3) Whole wheat toast with mashed avocado, tuna or fried egg, onion, tomato and feta cheese
4) Wrap (whole wheat tortilla) with tuna, salmon, or chicken, tomato, fruit, lettuce and nuts with a drizzle of low cal dressing
5) Sliced fruit (apple, banana, pear, strawberry) with peanut butter, nut butter, or cheese on top.
6) Vegetables such as celery with nut butter or cheese.
7) Woven wheat crackers with tuna or cheese
8) Toast with nut butter (or low sugar chocolate nut butter) and fruit on top
9) Finally, the superfast handful of nuts, handful of low sugar granola, or handful of muesli.
Since each of the seven snacks has variations, train yourself to eat these. You will never be bored with snacks, but you will find they are easy and quick to make. You will not walk into the kitchen and say, “I wish there were some cookies.” Instead, you will say “they are all so good, it is hard to choose.”