How many times have you come home after a long day and are immediately greeted with that infamous question; “What’s for dinner?”? That question may come from your kids, your spouse or even from within. Ugh…
Depending on your state of mind, you may find that you simply don’t feel like preparing a meal for you or your family. So, you crack open the refrigerator and look for something that is quick and convenient. If unprepared, you may opt for something that is less than ideal like a pre-packaged meal, frozen pizza, etc… I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I’ve been there and on more than one occasion, so you are not alone.
There is something that you can do today, right now, that will lead to better choices and better health and wellness for you and your whole family. Today, we are going to talk about the right way to perform a kitchen makeover. Not the kind of makeover that requires you to spend $1,000’s or weeks of living with your kitchen in disarray. Nope, this is a different kind of makeover for your kitchen, one that will both save you time and money while helping you continue to move towards your health and fitness goals.
Below, I’ll walk you through the entire process and even provide you with a handy PDF that you can download and print out to help you get started.
How to Perform a Kitchen Makeover
1. Kitchen Makeover – Assess
This may be the hardest part of the process, but it’s critical! If you are open and honest with yourself about what you need to change, the rest of this is 10x easier.
Do you really need that oversized bag of potato chips or the box of little snack cakes in your pantry? These kinds of foods don’t help you in your journey to lead a healthy and fit lifestyle or reaching your health and fitness goals. They only entice you to make poor decisions when it comes to food.
Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want choose a large bowl of ice cream covered with chocolate syrup over a chicken caesar salad?
This kitchen makeover is part of the process that allows you to prevent those decisions from even happening. If you can understand that food is fuel and the overall impact it can have on how your body performs, looks and feels, you will approach this process more seriously and with enthusiasm.
Removing the excess from your kitchen also minimizes the whole decision process. When you have the essentials in place and not much more, you are able to quickly decide what to prepare and move on! Think about all of things that you “stress” over throughout the day, you don’t need to add anything more to that list.
Here a couple of tips from the fine folks at Precision Nutrition;
- Keep healthy stuff near you and convenient. Make your routines and environment support your journey.
- Keep unhealthy stuff away from you and inconvenient. Make it hard for unhealthy stuff to get to you. If it doesn’t help you reach your goals, you don’t need it near you.
2. Kitchen Makeover – The Purge
Get out a garbage bag (…or a couple of them) and let’s start the purge! It’s important to keep in mind that just because you are tossing things out now, doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to ever have them in the future. At this point in your fitness path, you need to make a commitment to this and establish a baseline for healthy nutrition. Once you have done that, you can make the decisions to include to continue to exclude them. Initially, we want to setup your kitchen for foolproof decisions on food that allow you to stay in control and on track.
This is where most of the pre-packaged non “food” items exist. Here are some things to consider purging from your pantry:
- Flavored nuts
- Granola bars
- Baked goods/hostess/little Debbie
- Instant foods (mashed potatoes, macaroni, etc…)
Up next…the fridge!
- Fruit juice
- Any sugary beverage
- Sweetened yogurt
- Processed meats (deli, pre-packed)
- Restaurant leftovers
- Breads, bagels
- Condiments (bbq, ketchup, salad dressings)
- Cream cheese
Last, but not least the Freezer
- Frozen dinners
- Ice Cream
- Cookie dough
- Chicken Nuggets
Obviously the lists above are not 100% inclusive, but they should give you a general idea. If it comes in a box, bag or some sort of wrapper toss it. Check the label; if it has more than 3 ingredients, toss it. If you cannot pronounce some of the ingredients on that label, toss it.
If you are not sure about a certain food, a good rule of thumb is to toss it out. Refer to the following resources if you want to double-check if a food should be in your home or not.
- 21 Superfoods That Take Your Nutrition to the Next Level
- Wrapping Your Head Around Macros: A Cheat Sheet
- Recommended Food Guide
3. Kitchen Makeover – Restock
I know what you are thinking at this point; “I pretty much have zero food…what am I supposed to eat?“. Not to worry, we can quickly restock everything with a simple process.
Recipes or No…?
I am a big fan of having a wide range of healthy recipes on hand, they allow for variety in your meals. Because who want to eat the same bland protein and steamed vegetables day in and day out? That being said, I think there are both “pros and cons” to having recipes drive your shopping list.
Pros: You ensure that you have everything you need to prepare the desired recipe, some ingredients can be used for multiple recipes.
Cons: Recipes usually call for a small amount of certain ingredients and that can lead to eventual waste, some ingredients are hard to find or can be relatively expensive for just 1 or 2 meals.
Need Recipe Ideas?
I have been stock piling some of my favorites right here on my site. Check them out!
How to Restock Your Kitchen
If you want to go the recipe route, start conservative. Pick, at most, 2-3 recipes for a given week that you want to try. At least 1 of those recipes should be something that you are familiar with preparing in order to minimize anxiety. If not, you can use the super-simple process detailed below.
Here’s how to quickly restock some nutritious foods (remember not to “over-think” it):
Pick your 3-5 favorites from each category:
- Lean proteins
- Whole grains
Write them down, you can use the handy re-stock list included in the Kitchen Makeover Checklist. I don’t care if they’re frozen or fresh. Just have them on hand so you can actually eat them.
- Olive oil
- Grapeseed oil
- White wine vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Low Sodium / Gluten Free chicken or vegetable broth
- Raw honey or Maple syrup
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Garlic cloves
- Cayenne pepper
- Herbes de Provence
- Dijon mustard
- Whole grain pasta
- Brown rice
Pick a Day and Stick to the List!
Repeat this mantra as you are driving to grocery, as you are walking in and around the grocery. It will save you from temptation later as well as time, money now!
Decide a day of the week that works best for you to dedicate to your grocery shopping and if at all possible only do your shopping on that day. I am fortunate that my wife does most, if not all, of the grocery shopping around here, so I just help create the list and she does all of the “leg work”. Make it part of your weekly routine and it will become like an appointment that you’ll always make time for. If you don’t have the right food in the house, the chances of choosing the wrong foods greatly increases.
Keep It Simple!
Try not to spend a lot of time debating with yourself on the following:
- Should I buy organic?
- Is chicken better than beef?
- Are eggs good for me?
- Are fresh vegetables better than frozen vegetables?
Must Have Kitchen Items
When prepping your meals, having the right kitchen equipment can make the whole process a lot more manageable. While you don’t need to have every gadget or kitchen appliance known to man, there are a few that have helped me in my journey.
Meal Prep Essentials
- Knives & Cutting Boards
- Measuring Cups & Spoons
- Colander or Strainer
- Vegetable Peeler
- Utensils for Cooking – Spoons, Ladle, Spatula, Whisk
- Pots and Pans
- Serving Bowls & Plates
- Food Containers & Insulated Bag
Gadgets & Miscelaneous
Kitchen Makeover – Checklist Download
I have created a 2-page checklist that you can use along with all of the details mention above to perform your own healthy kitchen makeover. This checklist is a PDF format, which will allow you to download and print out and have with you while you go through this process.
Simply enter your name and email address in the form below and I’ll send it directly to your inbox!
Ready to Take it to the Next Level?
One of the first things you’re asked to do as a part of the Online Coaching Program is to perform a kitchen makeover. So, if you were able to tackle this process, but would like some additional guidance on your nutrition, let’s chat!
Are you ready to make your health a priority? Give the program a look over and discover the scientifically proven methods for increasing willpower, improving discipline, and burning body fat.
Want more tips or advice on nutrition or interested in getting more advice about making over your kitchen ? Contact me to learn about my Nutrition Coaching services.
You can also post your feedback or questions below.
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