Posted: Jan 19 2017
Over the (short) Summer break I decided to start some good habits and one of them included organising my kitchen and in turn, organising to eat healthy food choices and not skip meals.
One of the things that got me down towards the end of the year was not being prepared and because of my lack of planning, dinner was being cooked after 9pm and it was such a chore. I wasn't prepared, I hadn't eaten much for lunch and by the time I got home, I was starved and ready to eat anything I could get my hands on! Being disorganised led to more takeaway dinners resulting in bad habits and my waist expanding!
Cooking can be such chore sometimes, especially when you have had a long day, you're tired and you just need to get something on the table. So I decided, I need to get my butt into gear, plan better and stress less.
Here are 10 tips for you that I use myself. Since getting organised I have found my husband and I are eating better, we are healthier and much happier because we're not "Hangry"!
Stock your pantry- your pantry is a magical place that allows you to bulk up your meals with so many yummy ingredients. They last longer in here (that's why it's magical).
Choose healthy food to put in your pantry, include versatile snacks that can be packed for lunch.
Carbs- I'm not a nutritionist but I'm calling these foods "carbs" they're the good ones, they fill you up and give you long lasting energy.
Noodles, Pasta, Rice, these are so loved in our house!
In our pantry we have Japanese soba noodles, organic whole wheat pasta & brown rice.
Tins- I will always choose fresh produce over tinned but when you are short on time and need to whip up a healthy dinner, tins are a lifesaver.
In our pantry we have tinned corn, peas, lentils, green beans.
Oils and sauces- These are the game changers from ordinary to yum, in our pantry we have different oils for different uses.
In a salad, I will use extra virgin olive oil for the rich flavour. I'll add some balsamic vinegar and it's a match made in heaven. We always have some Soy Sauce, dried herbs, salt and pepper.
The other major part of the pantry is the snack component.
I buy quality muesli bars filled with only natural ingredients. We have various nuts and seeds and dried fruits.
In our pantry we have Pecan nuts, Brazil Nuts, Almonds, Pine nuts, Walnuts, Dried blueberries, dried apricots, dried figs, currants and raisins.
The next place to sort out is your freezer! If you are freezing meat for the week ahead, just remember to defrost it a day or so before you need to cook it!
What's in our freezer?
Chicken breast, it's so versatile. It's lean and easy to prepare in stir-fry, pasta dishes, baked, minced into burgers.
Bread. When I buy a loaf of bread < think Artisan sourdough, fruit bread with dried figs, apricots and giant sultanas> I only keep it fresh for two days, then it goes in the freezer so it keeps for longer and I can make sandwiches whenever I need to.
It's the easiest lunch, just toast some bread and your halfway done to making a sandwich!
I always keep ripe bananas in the freezer, they are the best for blending into a "nice cream" just add your favorite yogurt and other fruits to taste. Tip! Peel the bananas and break them in half, store in a zip lock bag.
Now we're up to the fridge. Make sure you buy lots of healthy greens that you can add to a salad, a side dish and top up some left overs into a brand new dish.
I love Broccoli, green beans, lettuce, kale.
We always have lots of tomatoes. They are the best!
In our fruit bowl there are always apples, bananas, avocados. Easy to snack on and so healthy!
So here are my 10 tips to organize your kitchen for a healthy life;
1) Clear our the mess, clean up the pantry, freezer and fridge to make space for the great and delicious food you will put in there.
2) Stock up on essentials, do a big shopping trip once a week or fortnight to keep your pantry stocked up with snacks and healthy food to prepare for your meals.
3) Plan your meals, what will you be cooking for the next five days?
4) Prep your meals, make your dinner easy by chopping and preparing some of your ingredients and storing them in an airtight container. This can be done a few days in advance.
5) Have a running grocery list, update your grocery list with things to buy so you know what you need next time you are shopping.
6) Make it fun! Mix it up and get your friends involved, share your ideas with them and make an afternoon of it.
7) Make it pretty, we do eat with our eyes and one of the ways to organize your kitchen is keep it tidy, label your containers in the pantry and make it work for you.
8) Try new foods and recipes, this could end in disaster and I know I will never live down the "Chickpea omelette" incident of 2015 but I was being creative with the very few pantry ingredients and we didn't end up eating it but it was an experiment i will never forget.
9) Get your partner and kids involved. Sometimes, they need a little push to get started but once they get going, they love cooking, helping out and giving suggestions.
10) Keep at it. For some of us, being organised doesn't come naturally but the main thing is to try to keep at it. It will become easier and you will see the difference of being organized in the kitchen.
Dana FD xx