Healthy Eating Habits Start With Atmosphere

Good_eating_habits_start_in_a_clean_kitchenYour surroundings affect your mood, so it makes logical sense that it affects healthy eating habits. What are some things you can do that will support preparing and enjoying foods at home? I’m glad you asked! Here are 3 ideas to change how you approach meal planning and eating nutritious meals at home:

1. De-Clutter The Kitchen

If your kitchen counters are a catch-all for appliances, mail, and other items that are attracted to any flat surface, then your first order of business is to clear the clutter. You need a clean and clear surface for food preparation. If you can’t find a clear or clean surface in the kitchen, of course it’s going to be hard to cook. Cooking doesn’t have to be drudgery — a daily chore that you’ll want to avoid.

Spring is a prime opportunity for cleaning and decluttering. Do you really need 11 different kind of spatulas? Most of us use a small percentage of the utensils and appliances we’ve packed into drawers, cabinets or on counter tops. Take stock of what you really need. Organizing tip: for those items you’re not ready to toss, put them in a box. Store the box in an easily accessible place but that is out of sight (e.g., hall closet) for two months. If you haven’t retrieved anything from the box in two months chances are pretty high you don’t need it. There are a few exceptions — like a turkey baster or cherry-pitter– things that are used seasonally.

Once you’ve cleared your space, the trick is to keep them clutter free. You may find this ZenHabits guide helpful to maintain it.

2. Meal Prep Fun

Make_meal_preparation_funThis is kind of related to #1 but with a twist. Now that you’ve got a spotless kitchen worthy of a mother-in-law’s inspection… let’s talk about creating a fabulous atmosphere while preparing meals. Here are a few ideas on how to spice things up:

  • Put on music. Choose things that help you relax or pick up the pace depending upon what you need and your mood.
  • Involve the kids. This is a great time to chat about each other’s day. Not only does “many hands make light work,” you’re also teaching them good habits in the process.
  • Enjoy a glass of wine or your favorite beverage. The idea is to make meal preparation relaxing and more fun.
  • Set a weekday dinner table with tablecloth, fancy dishes and candles.
  • Add pretty garnish —  like parsley or slice of orange — to your plate to make the meal feel extra special.

3. Meal Planning Supports Healthy Eating Habits

The adage “failing to plan is planning to fail” definitely applies to establishing healthy eating habits. If you haven’t added meal planning to your weekly routine, then I highly recommend doing so. Knowing you’ve got healthy snacks and items ready will make your life so much easier. Short on ideas on what to have on hand? No problem, I wrote a post dedicated to healthy snacks that help you lose weight.

Can you add to my list?  What other things have you done to your environment that support healthy eating habits?  Please post your comments in the comments section!

Image credits:

Orderly Kitchen

Kid on Counter