Making your Kitchen Healthier – in 7 minutes!

Making your Kitchen Healthier – in 7 minutes!

The other week Yogi Tea set me a challenge; to use the 7 minutes that it takes to brew the perfect cup of tea to enhance my happiness and wellbeing!

I accepted the challenge immediately and given that nothing makes me happier and feel more at ease than a tidy, organised kitchen, I decided to use my 7 minutes to organise my kitchen to make healthy eating easier and more likely to happen. And just in case you decide to follow in my footsteps I’ve outlined some things that you can do whilst you wait for your tea to brew!

 

Nichola Whitehead Dietitian

 

First though, let me tell you a bit about Yogi Tea and why I decided to join in with their challenge. Yogi Tea’s roots stem from the 3,000 year old Indian Ayurvedic teachings about the balance between body, mind and spirit. In 1969, Yogi Bhajan, a master of Kundalini Yoga, moved to the West and brought with him his wisdom and knowledge of yoga, as well as an aromatic tea spice blend, later nicknamed ‘Yogi tea’ by his students. Over 40 years later, the legacy lives on and Yogi Tea has a selection of over 40 unique, complex tea blends designed to promote wellness and balance. And as a pioneer of Ayurvedic herbal and spice teas, Yogi Tea is committed to organic farming methods. This natural and sustainable approach to farming, ensuring no synthetic pesticides, mineral fertilisers or genetic engineering is used, helping preserve the Earth’s beauty and vitality.

I personally drink tea throughout the day as it’s a tasty, low calorie way of staying hydrated. I also love the process of making tea; from selecting which flavour (and mug!) to have, to smelling the delicious aroma as it brews and finally sitting down with a lovely hot mug; it’s one of my forms of self-care! And from a health point of view tea contains polyphenols which are a source of antioxidants to keep us healthy – it’s a win win!

My cupboards are literally bursting with different teas and my favourite Yogi Tea has to be their ‘Inner Harmony’ tea which combines lemon balm, rooibos and cinnamon, it’s so delicious! So now.. fill your kettle with water turn it on, wait for it to boil, pour the water over your chosen Yogi Tea and take 7 minutes for you, 7 minutes to organise your kitchen to make healthy eating more likely to happen!

 

Task: Simply pick one new area each time you wait for your cup of tea to brew.. you have 7 minutes!

 

  • REARRANGE YOUR FRIDGE – 7 MINUTES CHALLENGE

Do you ever catch yourself opening the fridge when you’re ‘bored’, just to see if anything catches your eye? If this is you then you must take note of this section.

Start with higher calorie foods such as leftover cake or party foods; keep these foods at the very bottom or very top of the fridge wrapped in tin foil i.e. away from the eye-line. Covered up, these foods won’t jump out at you and scream ‘eat me’ the next time you open the fridge to get some milk. They will simply sit there until you mindfully want to get them out and (hopefully) share them with visitors.

Moving onto foods that should be kept at eye level; make sure to keep your middle shelves full of healthy, ready to eat foods such as boiled eggs, plain yoghurt, pre-cut veggie sticks (in see through containers or clear food bags) and dips such as hummus, salsa or home-made guacamole as well as a pre-cut fruit salad covered in cling-film and slices of chicken or turkey. Make sure that your healthy food i.e. whole foods that are rich in nutrients are both easy to see and easy to eat.

For foods that may go off quicker than usual, such as avocados halves, cut lemons and sliced tomatoes, you may want to check out containers which are specifically designed for these foods. I personally like the brand ‘Joie’ which are available from most supermarkets and large retailers; they sell plastic containers that are not only the perfect shape for your salad vegetables, but they look like them too so you know exactly what’s in them!

Nb: From a food hygiene and safety point of view always keep raw meat on a tray near to the bottom of the fridge to avoid any juices dripping on any other food, and always wash vegetables and salad foods before eating or preparing.

 

 

  • REARRANGE YOUR FREEZER – 7 MINUTES CHALLENGE

When it comes to your freezer, make sure to follow the same rules as for your fridge; keep healthy foods in easy to reach, eye-catching places (every freezer should contain 2 to 3 bags of frozen vegetables as well as frozen fruit such as berries and banana slices!), and foods such as ice-cream and oven chips towards the back.

If you’re a big fan of ice-creams then I highly recommend checking out the mini versions which are often under 50 or 100 calories. They are an ideal way of having something sweet but without the calorie hit, or why not try making your own banana-nice-cream; simply blend frozen banana pieces in a food processor until smooth.

Every home should also have a good supply of either Tupperware or freezer bags and labels; both are an ideal way of storing leftovers from dinner for the evenings when you’re rushed and don’t have time to cook. Just make sure to label the container before freezing as no-one likes a ‘meat and vegetable’ surprise after a hard day at work.

 

 

  • ORGANISE YOUR KITCHEN COUNTER – 7 MINUTES CHALLENGE

Ever heard the phrase tidy home, tidy mind? Having a declutter of your kitchen work-tops may not only help you to feel more at ease but it will make cooking both easier and (hopefully) more enticing too. Research has shown that the more food that is on display in a kitchen, the heavier the home owner is likely to be; this could be because we are more likely eat food when we see it*. Keep all foods, with the exception of a fruit bowl OFF the counter and away in cupboards; and this includes the biscuit tin!

To encourage use, keep your blender out on display; you’ll be much less likely to use it if it’s tucked away in a cupboard. One of my favourites smoothies is frozen banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter and milk; it’s quick to make and makes an ideal breakfast for on the go. In the same vein, make sure to have healthy recipe books as well as a book stand on show; it’ll encourage you to experiment with healthy recipes. You could even write out a weekly meal plan, using at least one new recipe during the week, and have this on display for all of the family to see.

 

 

  • ORGANISE YOUR FOOD CUPBOARDS – 7 MINUTES CHALLENGE

When it comes to your kitchen cupboards, a mini spring-clean/rearrange may be in order. When it comes to high calorie ‘junk foods’ i.e. foods that provide little in the way of goodness such as biscuits and chocolates, keep them in one ‘hard to reach’ cupboard; or better still, keep them out of the house altogether! The idea of keeping them altogether means that they wont have a tendency to jump out at you when you’re making a cup of tea. If you’ve ever heard of the ‘See Food Diet’ then you’ll understand this tip – out of sight really is out of mind when it comes to avoiding temptations!

Regarding foods such as cereals, in order to nudge both yourself and your family to making healthier choices at breakfast the key is to put the healthier cereals at the front i.e. porridge oats, and less healthier cereals (including honey, sugar and chocolate coated cereals) towards the back. This simple change around will mean that the healthier choice is the easier choice and you never know, the sugary cereals may be forgotten about altogether; or you could save them for a healthier ‘treat’ (instead of a chocolate bar) or for a weekend only.

You may also want to invest in some clear glass jars for foods such as oats which are ideal for both breakfast and baking. Other foods such as rice and pasta can also be stored in glass jars which may help to increase the shelf-life (if the jar is air tight). Just make sure that your jars aren’t overly big as research shows that the bigger the container, the more we are likely to pour out!

 

 

I really hope these tips help! Do let me know if you give them a go 🙂

 

 

 

*For more information check out the book by Brian Wansink called ‘Slim by Design’. This blog post was written in collaboration with Yogi Tea. All words written are my own. I do not promote products featured over others that are not featured. Please read my disclaimer page for more information.

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