So you want to get healthy, maybe lose some weight, or feel better in your swimsuit this summer? You already know what's coming.
You've heard all of the trite sayings. "You can't out-train a bad diet." "Six-packs are made in the kitchen."Losing weight is 80% diet, 20% exercise."
And it's true.
A good diet is a foundation for health, let alone a lean physique, and one of the most important parts of getting healthy is to ensure that your environment supports your goals.
So it is time to get focused, and the best place to start is in your kitchen.
Here are 10 steps to Getting Better Health with a Kitchen Makeover:
The Following is adapted from Precision Nutrition with some additions.
Step 1: Decide that you're ready to make some changes
Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? Good. Let's start.
Step 2: Prepare the Mindset
Decide in advance:
Which food will stay (and why)?
What foods will go (and why)?
What foods/kitchen appliances will need to be added (and why)?
The kitchen makeover should be a family/house decision. All members deserve to have a say. So hear them out and come up with what works best for everyone. Don't forget to explain why your goals are important and how your family/household members can support you in your healthy journey.
Step 3: Prepare the Tools
Grab a few garbage bags, a compost bin (if you have one), and a recycling bin.
Step 4: Take before pictures of your kitchen.
Cabinets, fridge, pantry, etc.
Step 5: Red Light/Expired Foods- Terminate
Terminate the foods that aren't in alignment with your goals. And trash any food that is expired, fury, or weird colors. Ew.
A quick word on the Red, Yellow, and Green-light Food Philosophy:
Red-light foods are often described as people's "trigger foods." They're the ones that you know you can't have in the house because you'll eat the whole sleeve, bag, box, or pint, etc..
Yellow-light foods are those that you should go slow with. They can be part of your meals in moderation, like butter and bacon.
Green-light foods are health and goal-supportive and make you feel great. These foods should make up the majority of what's in your kitchen.
Alcohol is up to you. Think about and decide how much drinking is right for you and what you're prepared to trade-off. For example, "I won't keep wine in my house, but I'll go out a get a glass with my friends on Friday."
Remember that this is not about "good or bad" foods, but about consciously creating an environment that supports you and your goals to get healthy/healthier.
Step 6: Read ALL Labels Carefully
Once you have dumped the obvious red-light foods, start reading the labels on what foods are left. Read them carefully and critically.
As my coaching company, Precision Nutrition states, "Never assume any product is "healthy" or "natural" or “crap-free.” Manufacturers are sneaky!"
Based on your findings, decide whether these foods you’ve evaluated are worth keeping, and why or why not.
Step 7: Trade-Offs
Once you’ve eliminated some obvious triggers and foods full of industrial chemicals, now you get to the negotiation stage.
1. What are you willing to keep… with modifications?
2. What is an effective compromise for others in your household?
3. Is there a way to arrange things, so everyone wins?
Step 8: Restock the Kitchen
Now you get to re-stock your kitchen with "Green-light/Wanted" foods and any other easily accessible, convenient, and nutritious foods.
Here is a list of 21 Superfoods from Precision Nutrition for some ideas:
21 SUPERFOODS REFERENCE GUIDE
1. Lean red meat (grass-fed preferred)
2. Salmon (wild caught preferred)
3. Eggs (omega-3 and cage free preferred)
4. Plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or coconut milk yogurt
5. Protein supplements (whey, milk or plant protein sources)
VEGETABLES AND FRUITS
8. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower)
9. Mixed berries
11. Mixed beans
13. Whole oats
14. Raw, unsalted mixed nuts
16. Extra virgin olive oil
17. Fish oil (or algae oil)
18. Flax seeds (ground)
DRINKS / OTHER
19. Green tea
20. Liquid exercise drinks (or branched-chain amino acids)
21. greens+® (vegetable concentrate)
* These are just some examples. Feel free to explore new veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, high-quality proteins, etc.
This is also when you can decide what kitchen upgrades you might need such as a good knife or two, a cutting board, a slow cooker, a blender/food processor, and some small containers for storage.
*I personally love the tall, glass storage containers we bought for our pantry from Crate & Barrel for $7.95 each. We keep dried goods like beans, rice, quinoa, and walnuts in these durable, twist-top canisters. I appreciate the aesthetic uniformity and knowing that I always have food that I can make. Also, We have saved money because we buy more food in bulk now! Score!
Step 9: The After Photos.
Take pictures of your kitchen and all the junk you tossed out after you have restocked with healthy foods. That is a makeover you can be proud of!
Step 10: Check-in
Set a reminder on your phone or in your calendar for one month from your makeover date to check in and see how things are going.
Did any red-light foods sneak back in?
Do you have a rhythm with healthy green-light meals or do you need some new ideas? Perhaps you check out blogs for healthy recipes that work with the List you created.
How do you feel overall? How do the other members of your house feel? Are things going smoothly or do you need to check in with everyone again to recommit?
And those are the 10 Steps to the Kitchen Makeover! Your future self will thank you!
- Coach Kali
*This Kitchen Makeover Method is adapted from the Level 2 Coaching Certification through Precision Nutrition.