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 I got home from spending the holiday in Montana was clean out my 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 my 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 my kitchen. If you have health or fitness-related goals for this brand new year, pick any of these to adopt into your routine!
Continue 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. I’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. I 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 my 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 my 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
This year, I hope to pick a night and event or restaurant ahead of time so that I can plan my week around a night out. I love this approach because it gives me something to look forward to each week and a much-needed moment of relaxation from cooking. I love catching up over a delicious meal that I 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 I had the chance to use them. This year I plan to purchase more frozen items for the ingredients I use in my smoothies (spinach, berries, bananas, and kale) and leave the fresh selections for vegetables I 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
A healthy year is easier to achieve 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 I already own and love include:
- Nutribullet for 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 my kitchen 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 prepping for a healthy year? I’m always looking for new ideas, and I’d love to hear in the comments or on Instagram!