The trick to maintaining a healthy kitchen isn’t just about what’s inside the fridge and pantry; it’s also about having the right tools and gadgets. They don’t have to be complicated but knowing what to have on hand and how to use them is essential.
Greening the kitchen with homegrown veggies and herbs is a start. It’s easy to grow recipe go-to herbs like, rosemary, parsley, basil, oregano, chives, and thyme, plus salad greens and small veggies, indoors. All you need is a sunny spot and a few pots.
No need to start from seeds—you can pick up small plants at your local grocery or garden store. Grow all together or in individual pots depending on your space. The nice pop of colour will also add a fresh fragrance to your kitchen space.
Snip from your kitchen garden to add to your dishes or as a garnish to any plate. You can even transplant the plants to your outdoor garden in the spring. Having fresh herbs helps to make meal prep easier and adds a boost of nutrients and flavour to soups, sauces, smoothies, and juices.
Nutritionist Rachel Caven offers her tips on some easy, healthy changes you can make to your kitchen and pantry:
- The best kitchen tool is a great knife! It’s worth the investment and makes meal preparation that much more enjoyable.
- Drink your water! It’s one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to improve your health. When water gets boring, add freshly squeezed lemon, lime or orange to your water for flavour. Lemon juice also helps improve digestion and is a source of vitamin C which helps to boost your immune system.
- Keep chopped veggies on hand at all times. When you’re looking for a quick snack, having pre-chopped veggies will turn healthy eating into fast food. Chop your veggies once you bring them home from the store or Farmers’ Market or buy them pre-chopped (it’s okay to pay for convenience sometimes).
- Keep easy protein on hand. Protein is the most difficult macronutrient to get into our diets (you don’t always have time to cook a chicken breast or soak your legumes). Make sure your cupboard is stocked with easy, non-perishable protein sources so you always have an easy protein option (canned chickpeas, beans, tuna or salmon, protein powder, nuts and seeds, etc.).
- Grow your own food! Start small if gardening is new to you or you don’t have a lot of space. Tomatoes, lettuces, and herbs are great options that are easy and can be grown in just a pot.
- Swap out any old, expired oils that are hiding in your cupboard. My favourite oils are extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings (should not be heated at high temperatures) and avocado oil or coconut oil for cooking.
- Make your own salad dressing! Start with equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar and add some of those fresh herbs that you grew yourself.
- Save your fruit, veggie, and herb scraps in the freezer to add to smoothies and even keep those onion and garlic skins for soups and healing broths.
Stock your kitchen with gadgets that help make eating healthy even easier.
- Squeeze the Day: Citrus juicer, The Bay, $29.99
- Blend & Go: Whip up a smoothie or shake and take on the go with this portable cordless blender. Bed Bath & Beyond, $59.99
- Green it Up: Keep your herbs fresh and on hand for instant flavour boosts. Herb Keeper, Lee Valley Tools, $26.50
- Knives Out: Large Chef’s Knife, Lee Valley Tools, $69.50
- Healthy Pasta: Make healthy veggie noodles for pasta and salads from carrots, zucchini, beets, and cucumbers. Ricardo Spiralizer, Kitchenalia, $39.95
- Air Fryer: Make your favourite crispy ‘fried’ foods without the grease and fat. INSTANT POT Air Fryer Lid, Chefs Paradise, $99.99
- Spray-On the Flavour: Fill with olive oil for seasoning or avocado oil for high heat cooking. Oil Mister, Kitchenalia, $34.95
- Spice it Up: Add some artful-inspired instant flavour to any dish. Food Crayons, Kitchenalia, $36.95
- Keep it Clean: Reusable, compostable Swedish Sponge Cloths. Kitchenalia, $6.95
- Veggie Rice: Make your own carb-free rice from cauliflower or broccoli. Veggie Ricer, Kitchenalia, $29.95
- At Home Juice Bar: This all-in-one juicer and blender is all you need to make delicious smoothies and fresh-pressed juice plus soups and sauces. Breville 3X Pro Blender/Juicer, Chefs Paradise, $629.95