3 Easy Ways to Be Healthier in the Kitchen, According to Science

Could your pantry affect your health? Are you cleaning your kitchen right? Here are science-backed ways to be smarter in the kitchen, plus a few products that'll make your cooking duties easier.

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Kitchen Tools Pantry Storage
Photography: Suech and Beck | Styling: Emily Howes

1. Build a Nutritious Pantry

Is your pantry living up to its potential? According to registered dietitian Tracey Frimpong, it can help you make healthier and tastier choices—but it can also make you sick. Here, Frimpong shares five tips for better food storage:

  • If you transfer dry goods to another container, write the expiration date on with marker or note the sell-by date—dry goods last for a few months after that date.
  • Spices can last for two to three years, but there’s a catch: The fresher they are, the more flavourful they are.
  • Most pantry items can be stored in a dry and cool space to keep them fresher longer. Nuts should go in the freezer so they stay crunchy.
  • Because whole-grain products have wheat germ—which is high in oil and goes rancid quickly—they expire faster than white grains.
  • Save the clear containers and the prime shelf real estate for the healthy goods, and hide the junk food.

Shop the containers:

Berry Basket, $20, vdevmaison.com | Ikea Glass Jars, $3-7, ikea.com/ca | Ikea Dry Food Canister, $10, ikea.com/ca | Kilner Mini Containers, $3, vdevmaison.com | Rajtan Spice Jar 4-pack, $4, ikea.com/ca | Wheat Husk Food Storage Containers, $5, Marshalls | Bento Boxes $6, HomeSense

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Kitchen Tools Serving Dishes
Photography: Suech and Beck | Styling: Emily Howes

2. Load Your Plate Right

According to the science-based and RD-approved Canada’s Food Guide, there’s a specific way to load up your plate for maximum nutrition. Try this:

  • Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables—ideally more of the latter to limit sugar consumption—and in a variety of colours.
  • Fill a quarter of your plate with protein, including fish, poultry, leaner cuts of red meat and nuts; less processed meats.
  • Fill the final quarter with whole grains, including quinoa, brown rice, and oats.

Shop the serveware:

Blue and White Dotted Oval Platter $15, Marshalls | Wooden Utensils, $60, 313designmarket.com | Glupsk Spoon, $2, ikea.com/ca | Fredericks and Mae Small Cutting Board, $45, 313designmarket.com | Yellow Dinner Plate $7, HomeSense | Neuville Spoon, $7, vdevmaison.com | Abstract Bowl, $13, vdevmaison.com | Sable Serving Spoons set of 4, $23, vdevmaison.com | Grey Speckled Salad Plate $6, Winners | Pacifica Serving Plate, $52, vdevmaison.com | Ebony Serving Spoons by Siafu Home, $50, goodeeworld.com

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Kitchen Tools Washing Dishes Tools
Photography: Suech and Beck | Styling: Emily Howes

3. Adopt Healthy Cleaning Habits

Did you know dishcloths and sponges are the germiest items in the house, being steeped with billions of microbes? Here, scientist and self-proclaimed “Germ Guy” Jason Tetro shares three tips to banish kitchen grime:

  • Dry your dishes well before you put them away; otherwise, microbes, like bacteria and fungi, could start to grow.
  • Run your sponge or dishcloth under very hot water, because that helps to reduce the microbial load. Every week, run it under water, put it on a plate, throw it in the microwave and cook it for two minutes on high to kill all germs. Every month, replace it.
  • Disinfect your drying rack every couple of weeks. Tetro uses a disinfectant made with hydrogen peroxide, but if you’re looking for a natural option, there are ones made with concentrated citric acid he says are fantastic.

Shop the cleaning supplies and dishes:

Poketo Oven Mitts in Blue Elements, $45, 313designmarket.com | VÄLVÅRDAD Dish Drainer, $6, ikea.com/ca | VÄLVÅRDAD Dish Drying Rack, $9, ikea.com/ca | Flat Plate 270 by 1616/Arita Japan, USD $65, goodeeworld.com | Grey Speckled Salad Plate $6, Winners | Abstract Dessert plate, $14, vdevmaison.com | Gruppera Napkin 6-pack, $5, ikea.com/ca | Scrub Sponges (set of 3) $6, Winners | Rinnig Dish Brush, $2, ikea.com/ca | Mini Bamboo Scrub Brush $8, Marshalls | Wooden Drying Dish Rack $10, Winners | Yellow Salad Plate $6, HomeSense

Next: 5 Cookbook Authors Share Tips for Getting Out of Your Cooking Rut

Originally Published in Best Health Canada

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