Article by Lauren Arnett, RDN, LD
Functional Medicine Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at KanodiaMD
What is your mood when you walk into your kitchen … overwhelmed, happy, annoyed, angry, inspired, creative? You probably have never been asked this question, but I encourage you to walk into your kitchen and explore how you FEEL!
Why? Because we spend a great deal of time in the kitchen cooking for ourselves, family and friends, and the way you feel walking into the space transfers to your experience while cooking. If you are in a happy mood, your food will be more delicious, flavorful and enticing, and it will radiate positivity! I’m going to walk you through how to get your kitchen set up for success, so that when you enter that space, you feel excited and happy about rolling up your sleeves and jumping in.
Decluttering Your Kitchen
First order of business: clean up that clutter! This step often gets skipped, but it is truly important in creating a joyful space that you actually want to spend time in. Who wants to be in a space that is disorganized, messy and full of other tasks that need to get done? Not me, and I bet not you too.
- Start by moving non-kitchen items (the mail, magazines, books, keys, backpacks, etc.) to their appropriate spaces and out of your way. Make use of baskets, bins, or drawers to get organized—time for a trip to The Container Store (yay!).
- Only keep appliances that you use regularly on your countertops. For me, that’s my blender, seed grinder, and instant pot. The rest are stored for easy access as needed. This is a great time to assess all of those extra appliances. Is it something you are willing to learn how to use, or is it time to donate it to a new home? Be honest.
- Now that you have created an organized space, consider adding an element of joy—hanging plants, colorful pictures, a speaker to play music or a podcast. Open the window to incorporate natural light (if possible). This space should be a place that sparks joy, after all this is where nourishment happens!
Top 7 Kitchen Essentials
Now that your space is clean and organized, it’s time to make sure you have all the right tools for a diverse variety of kitchen tasks.
- High-Quality Knife — Quality is better than quantity in this case! These are all you need. Knife sets have a lot of “extras” that you won’t use day-to-day. Stick to the essentials and make sure they are sharp! We like to recommend the 8-inch Classic Wusthof Chef Knife or 7-inch Classic Santoku Knife.
- Cutting Board — We recommend a large wooden bamboo board. Check out these antimicrobial cutting boards we use in addition to our wood cutting board at the Nourishing Plate.
- Storage Container — You’ll need these for leftovers and prepped food. Opt for glass. We like the Pyrex brand, which you can use both in the oven and for storage in the fridge.
- Skillet — This versatile tool is great for various cooking needs. Stick with materials such as cast iron (if you’re only getting one, go for this!) or stainless steel (more challenging to clean). This means you will also want a spatula—silicone works great!
- Baking sheet — Stick with All-Clad Cookware, stainless steel or aluminum. Tip: If You Care brand parchment paper is great for roasting and reheating. We like it because it’s unbleached, chlorine-free, and greaseproof.
- Mixing Bowls — Used for mixing (of course), storing, collecting food scraps AND my favorite … tossing big delicious salads! Don’t forget tongs for tossing.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons — I recommend stainless steel for dry ingredients and Pyrex glass cups for liquids.
Take Your Kitchen Up A Level
We've got the basics down. These next items are nice additions that you'll use over and over again to level up your kitchen game.
- InstantPot — A multipurpose tool that offers the convenient ability to pressure cook and slow cook. Some of them now even come with additional features like an air fryer or toaster oven. Some can get pretty fancy, but even the basic ones are super handy!
- Salad Spinner — This is a game changer. It gets liquid out of your washed produce even when you don’t think there’s any left. It really helps when roasting or crisping up vegetables and ensures you don’t have any soggy salads or kale chips.
- Spiralizer — Diversify your meals and enjoy new textures with veggie noodles.
- Food processor — Save chopping time with the click of a button.
- Lemon/ Lime Juicer — Not necessary, but definitely nice to have and gives you the option to freshly squeeze larger quantities of citrus.
- Immersion blender — This is a personal favorite for making a 30 second mayo, as well as creamy soups directly in the pot.
Let’s Get Down and Dirty with Tools to Keep Your Kitchen Clean
After the food is made and enjoyed, let’s keep it all in tip top shape, so you’ll be excited to start cooking again right away.
- Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner — Check out the Kitchen Basics Set.
- Branch Basics Concentrate — Article on washing your produce
- Walnut Scouring Pad— Made of ground walnut shells and recycled fibers, this pad attacks baked-on food and grime. Good for your mess and the environment.
- Barkeepers’ Friend Powder — This will keep an array of different surfaces in your kitchen looking good as new.
- Microfiber Dish Cloths — Great to keep around for quick wipe-ups.
- Reusable Rubber Gloves — Yes, dishpan hands are still a thing.
- Apron — Don’t forget a good Apron to keep YOU clean!
It’s my job to inspire you to stay nourished on the inside, but I hope these tips are helpful in getting you set up for success on the outside too — in your kitchen!
Come check out our upcoming classes at The Nourishing Plate teaching kitchen at KanodiaMD and experience the joyful space that we have created with you in mind.
As always, we’re happy to discuss your health needs. Just contact our office to set up an appointment or visit our Kitchen Page for info on nutrition and our class offerings . Check out our snack-sized, healthy cooking tutorials filmed straight out of our state-of-the-art teaching kitchen called “The Nourishing Plate.”