My healthy kitchen began after becoming sick 11 years ago. I thought I was eating healthy but realized I was just eating garbage. My pantry got a good cleaning and I threw out of all the packaged and processed food. This is when I started eating healthy and taking better care of my body.
Nutrition really does start in the kitchen. Well, essentially, it starts with our minds and what we choose to buy or put in our mouths. I’m excited to share with ya’ll some things that have helped me change what I eat and what I feed my family.
I’m excited to be joining a few of my “healthy” friends and I’ll be sharing more about them at the end of this post.
What Makes a Healthy Kitchen
A healthy kitchen starts with whole foods, real foods. You don’t have to go out and literally remove everything you have in your fridge or pantry. You can, if you want to, but I would take baby steps. For instance, if you are used to buying packaged foods and eating a lot of sugar, you will go through a major detox. I don’t want you to give up haha.
Start slow and figure out what are a few things you can give up to get you started with a healthy kitchen. Here are some examples:
- Remove packaged/boxed foods
- Get rid of all the white sugar
- Throw away any unbleached flour
- Ditch the sodas and sugary drinks
- Toss any condiments with unfamiliar ingredients
Tips On How To Read Food Labels
There are a lot of “healthy” packaged foods out there that are really hidden with bad ingredients. I started reading labels 11 years ago while I was healing from my surgery. Once you start seeing what’s really in our food, it makes you think about what you are putting in your body. Honestly, I got mad. Mad at the food industry for marketing these amazing products and then stuffing a bunch of junk and chemicals into our bodies. It’s not right that they are doing this to us.
Also, the list of ingredients in their order is very important. What is at the beginning of the list is what is the most used in the food product. It’s done by weight.
Here are just a few bad ingredients to look for:
- Look for the word “natural” or natural flavors”
- High Fructose Syrup
- Soybean Oil
- Enriched Flour
- BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) – used to prevent oxidation in food
- Colors/Food Dyes
- The words “artificial” or “coloring”
- Glucose or Tapioca Syrup
- MSG – food enhancer
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How To Make a Healthy Kitchen
Here are a few of my tips that have helped me change up my kitchen and pantry. My goal is to eat about 80/20 clean. It’s just not realistic to eat totally clean and healthy, especially when you are traveling or going out to dinner. I always give myself grace with that 20% and know that I’ll get back to my healthy eating when I get back home. The most important thing I’ve learned is to be mindful of what I’m eating and not let food consume me.
1. BUY IN BULK
This has really helped me stay on track with what comes in and out of my kitchen. All of my bulk items are kept in clear glass jars which makes it easy for me to see when I’m getting low or need to re-order that item. So, what do I buy in bulk?
- Pink Himalayn Salt
- Coconut Sugar
- Chia Seeds
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Active Yeast
- Dried Beans
- Chocolate Chips
- Coconut Flakes
Write a list of what you and your family like or what you think you’ll use on a regular basis. This will allow you to not “overbuy” things. Like I said above, start out slow. It took me two years to buy all of the glass jars haha. Every week, I’d go to thrift stores or TJMaxx and pick up clear glass jars.
2. More Fruit and Vegetables
I am a meat-eater, but I love my fruits and veggies. I have a small family garden where I grow what I can. I’ll support other local farms throughout the year. Our diets are lacking fruits and vegetables. I try to only buy what we will use for the week. My refrigerator is only so big so I have to keep it organized haha.
3. Purchase Whole Grains
This has been a game-changer for me. I started buying most of my grains in bulk 10 years ago. Therefore, I grind my own flour, make my own cornmeal and keep oats on hand year-round. I buy mostly in 6-gallon buckets and store them in our pantry. It’s really nice to have my necessities on hand at all times. I purchase most of my grains and bulk items from BreadBecker’s.
4. Include More Fats
Adding more “good” fats into our diet is key. I use Olive Oil for salads and Avocado Oil for cooking. Get rid of those transfats that are wreaking havoc on our bodies. We also love eating avocadoes for breakfast or I make my own Guacamole. Another good fat I use in both cooking and baking is Coconut Oil.
5. Use Vitamins and Boost Your Immune System
This is a good one, especially with what’s going on in the world right now. As much as I try to eat a clean and healthy diet, it’s just not possible to get all of my daily requirements by food. I by nature am a preventative person. We take high-quality vitamins and supplements every day. I keep mine in a pill-pack holder labeled Monday-Sunday. This helps me to remember haha to take them daily. Here’s my arsenal for good health:
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Follow a Few of My Healthy Friends