The kitchen is the heart of the home, feeding both body and soul. Every good cocktail party ends with guests gathering in the kitchen. There's something warm and inviting about the space in a home that nourishes family and guests.
The kitchen is also at the heart of your health. Most of us know that stocking our kitchen with colorful whole foods is a worthy investment in our health. But why stop there?
Extending the nourishing potential of our kitchens means thinking more critically about how to keep the space safe. Here are 12 things you need to make your kitchen healthier, safer, and greener:
1. 18/10 stainless-steel pans
This means 18 parts chromium/10 parts steel.
Every pan is a nonstick pan if you learn how to use it correctly. Here are a few rules of thumb: Make sure to preheat your pan, then add your cooking oil and allow it to gently heat; finally, add your meat or vegetables.
By heating the pan first, you will “sear” the food you are cooking, creating a barrier between the food and the pan. And presto, a nonstick pan without any plastics or Teflon coating.
2. A sharp kitchen knife
People laugh when I tell them that my favorite kitchen gadget is a really sharp knife, but it's true.
The sharper the knife, the safer it is. This might seem counterintuitive, but it's good kitchen safety. I always sharpen my knives before my kids help me in the kitchen for this reason.
Bonus: Allowing your kids to assist in the kitchen means they'll be more likely to eat what you're making for dinner. Even those Brussels sprouts.
3. Green dishwashing detergent
No, I'm not referring to the color of the dish soap, but rather the quality of the ingredients.
Mrs. Meyer’s and Seventh Generation, in addition to several other brands, make high-quality liquid dish and dishwasher detergents free of ingredients such as phosphates, chlorine, and phthalates (artificial perfumes).
4. Cast-iron pans
For some of us, cast-iron pans have sentimental value, too, having stood the test of time to be handed down from our great-grandmothers and grandmothers.
5. Glass storage containers
Leftovers are a great source of healthy lunches. Keep your leftovers safe and healthy by putting them in glass storage containers.
Reheating food in glass containers is safer than in some dangerous plastics.
6. Microplane zester
Next to a sharp kitchen knife, the microplane zester is my second favorite kitchen tool.
These zesters make it a breeze to add garlic, ginger, and citrus zest to many dishes such as rice, salad dressings, and smoothies (but leave the garlic out of the smoothie).
Want to learn more? Check out:
Not everyone thinks of scissors as a kitchen essential, but a good pair makes it easy to add fresh herbs such as basil, rosemary, chives, and thyme to any recipe.
8. Jars of herbs and spices
9. Blend-and-go options
For an easy protein-filled smoothie try the Nutty Banana:
1 frozen banana
12 ounces almond milk
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
10. Tea sleeves
These biodegradable tea filters sit on my counter inviting me to take a midafternoon tea break.
I use high-quality whole tea leaves (instead of teabags) because they're packed with phytochemicals. Heart-warming and healthy teas are a great addition to my kitchen.
11. Cutting boards
There's a great deal of controversy about whether to use plastic or wood cutting boards.
I use plastic boards to prep meats, and then chop veggies on my wood board. Taking the time to seal your wood board with mineral oil will not only protect the board but also keep it bacteria-resistant.
12. iPad or inspiring cookbooks
Call me old-school but I have hundreds of cookbooks. To me, these are like works of art. I'm inspired to create by all of the visuals contained between the covers.
The iPad on my counter also serves me well in the kitchen: between its library of good music and the ability to search for recipes with ingredients I want to feature in a meal.
Health in the kitchen is a matter of mind, body, and soul. It starts with a good foundation of safe and healthy kitchen gadgets, followed by colorful whole foods, good company, and stimulating conversation.
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