Spring Cleaning! 5 Tips for an Organized KitchenArticle posted in: Lifestyle
The kitchen is the heart of every home. It’s where everyone gathers, eats and keeps their food-of-choice within arm’s reach. However, that can be a problem when you’re trying to watch your portions and carb intake. Even if you live alone, you probably keep your favorite things right on the counter or at eye level to easily find later. From organizing your pantry to buying a food scale, organization and determination can help you make wise food choices. Taking some time to do a little spring cleaning this season can mean big changes for your weight loss results.
It’s time to do a little spring cleaning! Get organized this season with these five simple tips:
1. Eliminate Temptation
To kick off your spring cleaning to-do list, it’s essential to clear out expired or unhealthy foods to make way for an organized, kitchen. If you’re being honest with yourself, you probably don’t know what’s in the back of your pantry, freezer or maybe even the fridge. So, start at the top and work your way down, picking everything up, reading the label, nutrition information and expiration date.
If there are several people in your household, you may not be able to purge everything that you’d like. However, you can move munchies and not-so-healthy snacks up high so you—and your family—won’t be tempted every time the pantry or fridge is opened. Designate one shelf in each food storage space to your meals, snacks and grocery additions—and make it right at your eye level. Identify the shelf to your kids and spouse and ask them to respect this space.
2. Live to Label
To maximize your kitchen space for your low-carb ingredients, you can remove original packaging and use mason jars or storage containers that easily stack. This spring cleaning hack is perfect for your gluten free flours, nuts, seeds, baking essentials and whole grains. Grab your label-maker or post-it notes and create a clear label with the contents and its expiration date. You could even include what kind of South Beach Diet food it is—Healthy Fat, Protein, Vegetable, Extra or Free Food. If you want to get even more specific, feel free to indicate the permitted portion size of the food. You can also pre-package your foods into grab-and-go bags and small, glass jars to save time on weekday mornings.
3. Plan Ahead
On Saturday or Sunday, do your meal planning. Grab a notebook and plan out your meal ideas and shopping list. Figure out what days you’ll cook your own DIY meals and then make sure you have all the components in your fridge. Try grouping all the ingredients for each recipe together so you remember what you’re making and what you need. Some recipes can even be made on Sunday and enjoyed throughout the week on those busier days. For example, our Chockfull of Veggie Chili recipe serves two. Make it today; eat the leftovers tomorrow. You could also double the recipe, individually package each serving and freeze for future DIY lunches or dinners. Just make sure to create a clear label with the date you made it for reference!
4. Electronic Essentials
Do you ever wish that you had a kitchen sidekick to help you with your healthy meal prep and cooking? With so many new, innovative and handy cooking tools hitting the market, your wish may just come true! There are some great kitchen appliances that can truly help you on your quest to cook and eat healthier. From low-calorie frying to transforming veggies into pasta, it seems there is no task that these electronic essentials can’t complete. Here are some of our favorites:
- A kitchen scale is perhaps the single most important tool to have in your kitchen—especially when you’re first beginning the South Beach Diet. Refer to our Grocery Guide for the correct measurements of all your favorite additions. By taking time to weigh these ingredients, you’ll be eating proper portions and setting yourself up for slim down success.
- An Instant Pot is the ultimate kitchen sidekick. It can do virtually everything: It slow cooks, pressure cooks, steams, sautés, bakes and even makes yogurt. And, it does all of these tasks faster than conventional methods. The small unit traps precious steam that then infuses into food, cooking it from the inside out. Put your new cooking buddy to work with these Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs! >
- A spiralizer will make your low carb dreams come true. This handy device can turn cucumbers, zucchini and even squash into South Beach Diet-approved noodles that you can enjoy on your low-carb meal plan. Add your veggie pasta to salads, DIY meals and even your fully-prepared South Beach Diet food to add volume and high-quality nutrition.
- An air fryer is much like a countertop convection oven and uses air instead of oil to crisp up recipes. Our Oven Fried Chicken is the perfect recipe for an air fryer. You can even make healthy veggie fries with zucchini, sweet potatoes or avocado! Kale chips also crisp up to perfection in this unique cooking tool.
- A supercharged blender or food processor can make tasty soups, sauces and pesto in seconds—not to mention frozen yogurt and homemade nut butters. Try this Apple-Butternut Squash Soup and then mix up the Cilantro Dipping Sauce for our Spice-Rubbed Chicken Fingers.
5. Storage Solutions
You just bought a bounty of fresh produce—but do you know where to store it to maximize freshness? Make the most out of your spring cleaning efforts by properly organizing and storing your fruits and veggies. According to EatingWell.com, fresh vegetables should be stored in a higher humidity crisper drawer, while fruits need lower humidity. In most refrigerators, there is typically a dial that you can adjust for each drawer based on the contents. Milk and eggs should be kept in the coldest part of the fridge—usually the back. Meats can be stored on the bottom to avoid contaminating other foods. Some fresh produce, such as tomatoes, garlic, onions and hard-skinned squash (acorn, butternut or spaghetti) should never be refrigerated, says BonAppetit.com.
In the summertime, don’t be afraid to stock up on fresh, seasonal produce from your farmers’ market and freeze it for a hearty, winter soup. Most veggies just require a quick blanch in boiling water to preserve flavor and texture and prevent discoloration, says TasteofHome.com. For more tips on selecting and storing your seasonal produce, check out our Spring and Summer Produce Guide and Fall and Winter Produce Guide!