Organize Your Way To A Healthy Kitchen

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Getting Our Kitchens Back In Order

Last New Year’s Eve, we were anxiously looking ahead and making resolutions. Like so many, we focused on our health; get more exercise, eat a balanced diet, carve out time for sleep and self-care.

And then a global pandemic threw us a bit off course! Before we knew it, our pantries and refrigerators were packed full of “essential” items, which at first included shelf-stable foods like rice and beans but after a few months in lockdown some non-essential things found their way in (we’re looking at you Mr. Peanut and Chester Cheeto).

Now that things have stabilized, for the time being anyway, we decided it was time to get our kitchens back in working order. We happen to have an expert in the family who could give some advice on how to make our kitchens as healthy and efficient as possible. (Need help organizing your kitchen in general? Our Love Your Home Again course has all the information you could ever need!)

My cousin and mom’s niece, Leah Barron, is a registered dietician and certified personal trainer. She’s just launched her new business, The Baseline Lifestyle Co. and she took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions.

Kate and Leah circa 1990

Asked And Answered

Kate and Ann: What’s the number one most important rule you have when setting up your personal kitchen?

Leah: Visibility. I always try to make sure that healthy options are the first thing I see. Bananas and apples in a bowl on the counter or fresh cut vegetables in the front of the fridge. If you’re looking for a snack and these options catch your eye, you’ll be more likely to reach for them first.

K & A: Do you ever have unhealthy things in your home? Where do you store them?

L: I for sure have things that I consider to be more indulgent but I try not to think of food as either good or bad. Certain foods are important for the element of satisfaction though they may not be the most nutritious. Going back to visibility, I tend to store things like chocolate and sweets in a cupboard above eye level so I actively have to remember that they’re there rather than seeing them and suddenly wanting them.

K & A: Do you shop from a list or do you just buy what looks good when you’re in the store?

L: Oh I most definitely work from a list. I think that planning is a huge step towards making sure your kitchen is well stocked with healthy options. I have a master list I work off of, so I typically have the same types of foods at all times. In my pantry I keep oatmeal, rice and pastas and things like whole grain crackers, granola and cereal. For canned goods, I try to have tomatoes, beans, and tuna on hand all the time because you can always figure out a meal if you have those. And of course, cooking oils, nut butters, and coffee – because no pantry would be complete without coffee!

Obviously, she’s related to us!

K &A: Do you have any other shopping tips for us?

L: Two things that I think are really important. The first is I would advise to shop from your home before you head to the store. It just cuts back on over buying and filling your cabinets with things you don’t currently need. And the second is I would try to choose recipes before you go shopping. That way you’re not standing in the store trying to figure out what’s for dinner and end up resorting to a convenience meal.

K & A: Any parting wisdom before we sign off?

L: For me, having an organized kitchen makes it easier to live a healthy lifestyle. So I would just say maintain an environment that is conducive to your goals whether that’s weight loss, maintenance or an overall balance.

Hopefully, Leah’s advice helps you out as much as it did us! If you want to know more about her service, check her out on Instagram @leahbarron_nyc. Her workout videos you can do at home or outside are seriously inspiring!

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