How Your Kitchen, Pantry, and Dining Area Can Promote Ideal and Healthy Eating Habits

Display healthier food options | Image source: Shutterstock

A lot of fitness professionals say that fitness starts and ends in the kitchen. As famous America’s Fitness Doctor said, “Eighty per cent of the weight loss battle is nutrition. This is the key to achieving and maintaining the body you want.”

We, home designers share the same opinion. But, we can’t help you with nutrition. We can help you design a healthy kitchen. With proper design, you can land on a kitchen that constantly reminds you to cook your own meal rather than microwavable dinners, or to drink water rather than sugary beverages. It’s an effortless way to reinforce a healthy lifestyle.

Here’s how you can do it:

Display healthy food options and hide the unhealthy ones

There should be no display of unhealthy snacks on the countertops. Avoid displaying cookies, candies, baked goods, crackers, and breakfast cereals on pretty and matching jars. Those look good, but those won’t help you get your ideal weight.

Instead of displaying sugary and salty snacks, why not display nuts, whole grain oats and cereals, granola and other healthy snacks in your jars? Put them on your counters and opens shelves that are within your reach.

Busy homeowners tend to grab their food and hit the road. They don’t have time to dig into the cupboards to find other options. So, displaying healthy food and snacks in your kitchen particularly in the counters is a good trick to give them better food to eat. Try displaying fruit bowls on the countertop near the busiest kitchen pathway. Put two to three kinds of fruits in there.

Design the pantry away from the kitchen and living room

According to the book Slim by Design, the pantry should not be located in the kitchen. Separating the pantry from the kitchen and placing it far from the living room can inhibit unhealthy snacking. Our architects in Superdraft Australia recommend using a farther storage room or cabinet for storing your canned goods, baking supplies, and snacks you previously bought.

Inside the pantry, the healthiest foods must be in the front middle of the shelving. The instant and ready-to-eat foods must be in the back, highest, and the lowest shelves. Make them hard to reach. Hide them from plain sight. If you can’t see or reach the junk food, you won’t indulge in them.

Encourage yourself to cook

The best way to monitor what you’re eating is to cook your own food. It’s a proven way to control one’s diet.

If you want to encourage yourself to cook, you must start doing some simple tweaks in the kitchen. The most important is organizing all your cooking essentials — pots, pans, knives, and other utensils. Put them in their designated cupboards. This way, you avoid losing the utensils you need when cooking. Cooking your own meal becomes faster and easier.

It’s not satisfying to cook when a few of the things you need are lost somewhere in the kitchen cabinets and you have to hunch down to look for it. In worse cases, you give up the idea and call for fast food delivery. You eat the meals you swore to avoid.

This is not a joke. World-renowned celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay cleans his kitchen after he cooks. A dirty kitchen is the enemy of a chef. It will not inspire you to cook something sumptuous and healthy.

Grow your own herbs. | Image source: Shutterstock

You should consider planting your own herbs. Plant basil, cilantro, dill, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme in tiny pots on the windowsill. Use a different pot for each plant to ensure the plant’s health. Label each pot properly to avoid confusion. You can also invest in a vertical garden of herbs outside the house.  

Another cool step to do is to display your cookbooks. Display them on a wall shelf near the food preparation area and may it motivate you to become your own cook. If you don’t have cookbooks, follow recipes from the internet. Consider using a tablet or phone holder in the kitchen so your device faces you while you cook.

Keep your kitchen counters well-lit and tidy

Put a bowl of fresh fruits on your counters. | Image source: Shutterstock

Your kitchen counters are for food preparation and cooking. There’s a lot of work and action going on there. You have to keep it uncluttered and well-lit. The appliances you don’t use must be off the counters except for the blender. Remember the fruit bowls? The sight of the blender will invite you to create smoothies with the fruits. Put the drink and the cup and you have a grab-and-go meal.
Also, clean and well-lit counters invite you to cook your own meal — which is a good thing.

Use opaque cupboard doors

People who want a healthier kitchen hide a few of the unhealthy snacks previously bought in the cupboards. So, using solid wood or Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) cupboard doors are wiser to use rather than the ones with glass or transparent doors. If you can’t see what’s inside the cupboard, the less intriguing it will be. The more you see it, the more you tempt yourself to snack.

Here’s another trick to try… Place all the healthy snacks in the upper cabinets. As for the not-so-healthy snacks, you can put them in inconvenient spots like the back of the lower cabinets. We call this the kid’s cupboard because only a toddler can explore the contents of those cabinets without crouching.  

Don’t make the kitchen feel like a lounge

The kitchen is the busiest spot in the house. It’s not the place for you to sit comfortably while snacking.

The key is to trick yourself to avoid overstaying in the kitchen. When you do, you avoid overeating as well. Start with using non-lounge chairs or hard counter stools. Don’t use bar stools that have foam for extra comfort and support. Choose solid wood and sturdy plastic or metal stools.

Also, don’t put a television in the kitchen. The TV is another reason to overstay and overeat in the kitchen.

Build a neutral-coloured or earth-tone kitchen and dining area

Finally, eat in a neutral-coloured or earth-tone room while playing soft music because silence and bright colors tend to stimulate eating.

We suggest using the color gray generally turns people away from the thought of food. The color black suppresses a person’s appetite. And, the color brown makes people less hungry. Sure, you can pop some blue, green, and purple for some accent. Blue is a rare food colour while green and purple foods are mostly fruits and vegetables.

Grey and black suppresses the appetite. | Image source: Shutterstock

Avoid the colours orange, yellow, and red. These happy and exciting colours stir a person’s hunger and gives them a big appetite.

With proper design, eating and living healthy can be effortless. Once you change the environment, the habits and lifestyle will follow. You can still choose to eat healthy meals and cook your own food despite your busy life. You forget about having a fast-food meal, cookie, or can of soda. You avoid unhealthy snacks without a second thought. Of course, the effects may take a while and you will exert lots of effort to make your kitchen work for you, but you will benefit in the long run.

About Charlene Gonzales

Charlene Gonzales is a design writer from Superdraft, the largest team of architects and home designers in Adelaide, Australia, who offer complete design solutions to any size residential or commercial projects. She believes that busy schedules and demanding work are not hindrances to a healthy lifestyle. With proper home design and habits, you can stay fit and healthy.
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