My daughter, like so many young adults at this time of year, is moving into her first apartment. This is a big deal. First apartments are one of the big rites of passage we have. It is exciting and scary at the same time. As a mom who cares about healthy eating I, of course, immediately thought about her new kitchen and how it could be set up for a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating. When you are starting from scratch with a new kitchen it is a great moment to think about how to set yourself up for health and to prioritize the tools you need to make home cooking easy and enjoyable.
1. First things first…when you buy your first set of dishware, make sure it is right-sized, not over-sized. The great thing about right-sized plates is they easily fit in your cabinets and dishwasher (if you have one). Don’t forget to pick right-sized glassware too.
2. In your apartment, make sure there is a designated area for you to sit down and eat a meal. Of course, the table and chairs may well be multi-purposed but when you eat it should be cleared off and set for a meal. Being mindful when we eat and eating in an area that is visually attractive plays a big part in healthy eating.
3. Color is also a big factor in how we feel. As we know from the colors we choose to wear, they can have a significant influence on our mood. If you can paint your walls, think about painting your kitchen and eating area in colors that make you feel good but not colors that stimulate you because of their intensity like hot reds, yellows or oranges…leave those colors for other areas. Choosing your dishware with the influence of color in mind is also important. White plates do not give you enough contrast with the food you eat so you tend to put more food on your plate. Plates with some non- stimulating color are ideal (think blues, greens, plum or other calming colors). Check out Livliga dishware as an example.
4. Equip your kitchen with cooking basics to make meal preparation easy and enjoyable. Here is a good list to begin with:
good knife set of measuring cups set of measuring spoons
saucepan colander/strainer skillet
stockpot tea kettle can/bottle openercork skew for opening wine
cutting board set of mixing bowls vegetable peeler
spatula slotted spoon spoon
grater cookie/baking sheet with sides oven mitt/pot holder
loaf pan dish towels sieve
whisk French press for coffee/tea storage containers
tongs sponge with scrubber pot scrapper
5. Stock your pantry with survival basics, this includes having canned items that you can make a healthy meal from as back up when you don’t have time or are two tired to go to the grocery store. Here is a survival basics list:
oatmeal nuts (pecan, walnut, almond) olives
diced tomatoes low sodium broths (chicken, beef, vegetable) tuna
chicken canned fruit (mandarin, peach, pear) sea salt
pepper olive oil vinegar
cooking spray Dijon mustard lowfat mayo
whole wheat pasta capers anchovies
garbanzo beans panko bread crumbs parmesan
herbs: basil, bay leaf, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, dill, granulated garlic powder, herb de Provence, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, crushed red pepper, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, turmeric,
Idea for quick & healthy “pantry” sandwich:
Idea for quick & healthy “pantry” salad:
Idea for quick & healthy “pantry” pasta:
Idea for quick & healthy “pantry” soup:
Idea for quick and easy “pantry” burger:
Cooking at home is a great way to live a healthy lifestyle. It is so much easier to control what you eat. In order to be able to do it with ease and enjoyment it is important to set yourself up for success. These 5 essentials for first apartment kitchen set up should be a great first step to healthy eating and many wonderful meals ahead.
Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!