Spring is the perfect time to do more than just a pantry clean, but also to take a bit of a personal assessment of how you’re feeling. What have you been doing that’s working for you? What would you like to improve on? What can you add (or subtract) from your kitchen space to support your goals?
You’re definitely on the right track by wanting to use that spring-cleaning energy on your kitchen. Here are some of the ways I give my space the fresh update it deserves, while paying tribute to the season:
Sweep out the old. I take the famous saying to heart: “Out with the old, in with the new.” Before I bring in anything new into my kitchen I do a full sweep of all the things that are weighing down the space. I go through all of my pantry and refrigerator contents carefully and dispose or compost anything that’s past its prime. It’s time to get rid of the 8-month-old half-eaten crackers; check bags of old rice and cereal for bugs, and assess staples like flours and oils to see if they’re still within their expiration timeframe. If you smell anything “off” about these items, toss it – rancid oils are very harmful for the body, not to mention they also make your food taste bad. This also extends into the direction of getting rid of foods you don’t want to be eating – the cookies someone brought over for a party, or the cans of soup that are super high in sodium. Whether you choose to donate, compost, or toss these items is your prerogative, but eating these items yourself isn’t helping the world by avoiding waste – your body is not a dumping ground for unhealthy or spoiled foods, and you’re better off simply getting rid of them.
Practice “less is more.” Unless you have a huge kitchen, chances are your counter top real estate is highly valuable. And while having lots of appliances can make various types of cooking more fun, a cluttered working space is anything but inspiring to use. Take a mental stock of the types of food you’d prefer to be making and consuming for your healthy goals. Is it smoothies? Juices? Homemade energy bars? Or is it bread and homemade pasta? There’s room in life for all your favorite foods, but having only the appliances out that actually support your daily clean-eating efforts is a great way to help you follow through in your future actions. In my kitchen, we keep out the blender, food processor, and toaster for their ongoing use … and all my other gadgets get tucked away in cabinets below for special occasions.
Organize for success. Our brains are wired to pick low-hanging fruit: what we see in front of us first is what we are most likely to eat. So again, set yourself up for success! Organize your refrigerator so it has the vegetables and fruits front and center – a great incentive to eat them. Place your favorite superfoods, like chia seeds, in decorative jars and line them up along your counter to remind you to add them into all your meals. Put away candies and snacks, and keep out a bowl of trail mix boosted with energizing natural foods like goldenberries and almonds for an easy bite instead. This year, I replaced jars of pasta with jars of quinoa, and put away the stash of chocolate chips I would always break into, and replaced them with mulberries and cacao nibs. Out of sight often means out of mind, and you’re much more likely to put your hyper healthy edible tools to use when they’re the first thing you see.
Pick something new. If you’ve ever bought a new workout outfit and instantly felt more inspired to get your sweat on, you’ll understand this concept well. The idea of picking something new – something that is abundantly healthy and a “treat” for your body on a cellular level – is a great edible way to refresh your excitement in a lifestyle of wellness. This new item can be a daily bottle of green juice, a bag of maqui powder or some other anti-aging superfood you haven’t been using yet, or even a cool new vegetable you’ve been eyeing at the farmer’s market (like watermelon radishes). We gain the feeling of reward, while actually contributing to and building upon our healthy practice.
I love this time of year – all the fresh herbs, young produce, and the feeling of renewed healthy commitment. Spring just feels clean, and it’s nice to put that instinct into practice. What will you be doing to give your kitchen a refresh?