A healthy kitchen doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take hours to create. Keep it simple! Here are 20 of the best time and money-saving hacks to create the ultimate healthy kitchen.
1. Good ‘Til the Last Drop
That jar of almond butter almost empty? Don’t let those delicious little bits stuck to the sides and hidden in all the nooks go to waste! Make your morning oatmeal in the jar. The warmth will melt the remaining almond butter, creating a warm and creamy (and resourceful!) breakfast.
2. Easy-Peel Hard Boiled Eggs
Adding a little baking soda or vinegar to your water when making hard boiled eggs helps to separate the white from the shell, making the process of peeling the eggs much easier.
3. Prep Veggies Ahead of Time
Veggies will stay fresh longer than your meats will, so I always like to steam or roast my veggies for the week in advance. Then I just have to buy and cook my protein as I go. Taking out that extra step and extra cleanup during the busy week makes a huge difference!
4. Always Have a Salad on Deck
There is always a big salad on hand at my house. I put just the basics in (lettuces, cherry tomatoes, peppers and cucumber) so that I can transform it to go with any meal I’m making that day. Forgot an ingredient for the lunch you planned to make? No biggy! Just grab some of that salad, toss some leftover protein on it and some crunchy extras and you’re good to go.
5. Give Leftovers a Second Life
I love giving leftovers a second life. Leftover veggies? Try making them into a frittata or omelette. Extra stew meat? Sounds like the perfect ingredient for stuffed sweet potatoes. Get creative. Eating leftovers doesn’t have to mean repeating the same meal from the day before.
6. Mason Jar Salads
You’re trying your best to eat healthy, so you pack a salad and bring it to work. But one of two things happen. Either the lid isn’t perfectly sealed and you end up wearing your salad or all your ingredients get soggy from sitting in dressing all day. This is where mason jar salads come in! When packed correctly, this is a compact, travel-friendly way to bring a healthy salad to work that isn’t going to be soggy by the time you eat it.
7. Overnight Oats
These are just great! No cooking required and a great grab-and-go breakfast? Sign me up! Here’s a few delicious overnight oats recipes to get you started.
8. Ripen Fruit in a Hurry
To speed up the process of ripening fruit, simply place your fruit in a brown paper bag. This traps the ethylene gasses released by the fruit, causing it to ripen faster.
9. Freeze Sliced Avocado
You eye that avocado all week long. Is it ripe yet? Almost. How about now? So close. And now? It’s rotten! As soon as your avocado is ripe (or even just slightly under-ripened) slice it up and pop it into the freezer. Then, you can use a piece to add to your smoothies without worrying that it is going to spoil before you can finish the whole thing.
**UPDATE** 6/16/2016: I recently overbought bananas when they were on sale and just could not eat them all, so I used this same trick. I sliced my extra bananas into 1/4″ pieces and laid them flat in a ziploc bag. I just popped that into the freezer and then I can take as many little slices as I need for my smoothies each day.
10. Prep Smoothies in the Freezer
Smoothies are a great way to get a lot of nutrients to the body. They are also great for those on the go. To make life even easier in the morning, portion out all of your smoothie ingredients and freeze them in a ziploc bag. This way, you just dump the content of the bag, add water and ice, blend and go.
Pro Tip: Mix things up! Don’t portion out the exact same smoothie for the whole week. Use kale in a couple and broccoli in others. Try cherries or berries in a few and a little pumpkin in another. Keep it interesting.
11. Use a Greens Powder
A greens powder is a great way to get some extra veggies into your diet. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t get that excited about eating all these vegetables that are supposed to be so good for us. Here’s a quick cheat. Just throw a scoop of greens powder into your smoothies each day. These powders come unflavored or in delicious flavors, like berry or apple cinnamon.
12. Freeze Fresh Herbs for Later
Every time I buy fresh herbs, I am left with way more than I needed and I find myself scrambling to come up with another recipe to use it up in. Instead, simply chop your fresh herbs and freeze them in an ice cube tray with either water or olive oil. Then, you just grab a cube whenever you need it.
13. Ditch the Pasta
Who needs pasta any more when you’ve got zucchini and squash, right?? If you do it right, the answer is yes. Once you make this delicious spaghetti squash recipe, you will surely make it a go-to in your home. Also, get yourself a spiralizer! They are inexpensive and can turn anything into a noodle. I love making zucchini noodles with a little olive oil and garlic. So good!
14. Wait to Wash Your Berries
Washing berries actually promotes the aging and spoiling of them, so wait until your are ready to eat them before washing or just wash a small portion at a time,
15. Clean Produce Without Harsh Chemicals
Use a simple mixture of water and baking soda to clean your fruits and veggies. No harsh chemicals necessary!
16. Steam Your Veggies
Steaming is the healthiest way to prepare your veggies. Making rice for dinner? Just toss the steamer on top and get your veggies going at the same time.
17. Puree and Freeze Greens About to Spoil
Bought that big bag of greens on sale, but can’t eat it fast enough? Just puree your greens with a little water and freeze in an ice cube tray. You can grab them to add to sauces or into your smoothies at your own pace.
18. Spice Things Up
Spices are your best friend when it comes to eating healthy. They are such a simple, inexpensive way to create delicious flavors and variety in your meals without smothering your foods in sugary sauces or dips.
19. Turn Leftovers Into Baby Food
Leftover peas, carrots, sweet potato, etc. can all be pureed, portioned into an ice cube tray and frozen. Simply grab a couple and warm them up when baby is ready.
20. Meal Plan
The key to a healthy kitchen is being organized and prepared. Plan your meals for the week ahead of time, so you can have all the ingredients on hand. It’s when we’re starving and don’t have anything prepared that we reach for those chips or cookies. Be prepared! Get everything together for the week on Sunday. This will do wonders for creating a healthy kitchen.