If you’re anything like me, the blank slate of the new year encourages you to start fresh across various areas of life. One of the first things I did when we got home from spending the holiday in Montana was clean out our refrigerator. And I mean deep clean. I threw away wilted veggies and expired condiments, but I also took the shelves out, scrubbed, and gave the exterior a wipe down. While performing this chore, I got to thinking about how I might want to prep my refrigerator, and our kitchen at large, for a healthy year.
Since I have an established routine, I don’t feel the need to set goals around food, nutrition, or exercise. Instead, I consider how to encourage my current lifestyle in the new year. What’s been working that I want to continue? What hasn’t been that I’d like to replace with a different habit or reconsider altogether? With these questions in mind, I decided to round up the routines and items I’ll be using in our kitchen. If you have health or fitness-related goals for this brand new year, pick any of these to adopt into your routine!
Continue our Morning Smoothies
I have a strong sensitivities for many breakfast foods, so it was challenging to find a protein-rich option. Finally, I finally found a vegan protein that tastes good and has 20 grams of protein from clean ingredients. When I started making smoothies, David switched out his usual breakfast for a protein smoothie, too. Now, he’s concocted his own special recipe and won’t even let me make his! We’ll continue this habit because it’s fast, requires no clean up, and is a great way to get fiber, antioxidants, and protein in one swoop. We use a Nutribullet because you drink the smoothie from the same cup you make it in. I shared my favorite morning smoothie recipe here.
Grocery Shop 2x a Week
While I’ve learned to plan in other areas of my life (work, scheduling, chores, etc.), I’ve yet to apply the skill to our meals. Cooking for two presents a challenge because it’s hard to avoid wasting produce or needing to run to the grocery store for that last ingredient. This year, I want to roughly plan our weekly meals, make better use of leftovers, and only head to the store mid-week to pick up proteins (like fish and chicken, which are often better fresh). I love to meal plan using Pinterest, SkinnyTaste, and Gimme Some Oven. Be sure to pin or screenshot the grocery list above to make your shopping simple!
Schedule Fun Meals Out
David and I weren’t the best about planning our date nights ahead of time in 2018, so we’d often get to Thursday or Saturday and still be deciding what to do. This year, we hope to pick a night and event or restaurant ahead of time so that we can plan our week around it. I love this approach because it gives us something to look forward to each week and a much-needed moment of relaxation from cooking. We always love catching up over a delicious meal that we wouldn’t normally have at home and a glass of wine or a yummy cocktail.
I am a little embarrassed to admit how many cartons of spinach, berries, and other vegetables were laid to rest because they went bad before we had the chance to use them. This year I plan to purchase more frozen items for the ingredients we use in our smoothies (spinach, berries, bananas, and kale) and leave the fresh selections for vegetables we plan to cook throughout the week. Sometimes I’ll even prep frozen smoothie bags with spinach, berries, and bananas for even easier breakfasts.
Snacks on Rotation
Last year, I got completely hooked on two plant-based protein bars: No Cow and Raw Revolution. Both are high in protein (>10g) and fiber (>12g), which are the two ingredients I try to incorporate into any snack. However, they’re no replacement for whole foods. I found that my sweet tooth was actually stronger on days I was eating them, so this year I’m making an effort to stock up on healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, nuts, non-fat Icelandic yogurt (I love Siggi’s), and vegetables with hummus.
Stock Up on Appliances
Healthy food choices are easier when healthy food is around you. Likewise, healthy cooking is easier when the kitchen is stocked with appliances that lend themselves to healthier cooking styles (baking, steaming, poaching, and boiling), smaller messes, and abbreviated cooking times.
Appliances we already own and love include:
- Nutribullet for our morning smoothies.
- Steamer basket for steaming vegetables and reheating protein sans-microwave.
- Herb scissors for fresh cilantro or basil in salads, tacos, and more.
- Digital food scale for portioning protein, nut butters, etc.
- Dressing container for homemade vinaigrette without additives or preservatives.
- Handheld spiralizer for zucchini noodles and prettier salad vegetables when hosting.
- Nonstick pan set for oil-free sautéing.
- Miniature cutting board for prepping salads and dinners for one.
- Keurig Single Serve for decaf coffee and cinnamon tea for the late night sweet tooth.
Items on my list to add to our kitchen in 2019 include:
- Lemon press for a citrus kick on avocado toast, salads, and in ice water.
- Salad spinner for crisp, crunchy salad greens.
- Meat shredder claws for crockpot salsa chicken tacos.
- Mandolin for trying fun recipes, like zucchini lasagna. Also love this affordable handheld version.
- Digital steamer for fast protein and vegetables using one appliance.
How are you making your 2019 healthy? I’m always looking for new ideas, and I’d love to hear in the comments or on Instagram!