5 Essentials for First Apartment Kitchen Set Up for Healthy Eating

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:

Tuna fish sandwich with Wasabi mayo

Idea for quick & healthy  “pantry” salad:

Tuna fish salad

Idea for quick & healthy  “pantry” pasta:

Pasta Puttenesca

Idea for quick & healthy  “pantry” soup:


Idea for quick and easy  “pantry” burger:

Tuna 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!