Registered dietitian Serena Ball, a mother of three young
children from the western suburbs who blogs at TeaspoonOfSpice.com,
suggests creating space for a kids' cooking cabinet, drawer or
"Look for a low shelf or drawer that's easily kid-accessible.
With their own kitchen stuff, children are more motivated to help
chop vegetables-and then eat them when they appear as dinner."
In kitchens cramped for space, Ball suggests a plastic bin that
can be stored in a pantry at their level. "Kids love to cook. And
although there is usually always a little bigger mess to clean,
giving them a carrot to peel can keep them from clamoring for a
snack right before dinner."
She recommends stocking the following in your children's cooking
After the excess of the holidays, it's time to get your home
back in order. And that includes what may be the most important
room-the kitchen. Having an organized kitchen can save you time and
money and may even allow your entire family to eat more
Reconsider stocking up just because you got a good deal. If
you're not careful, it can go to waste (waist), plus you have money
tied up that might be used elsewhere. If you're out of space for
your "deals," it's time to quit shopping.
Store your whole grains-such as brown rice, wheat berries,
quinoa and rolled oats-in plain sight in glass storage jars. Keep
cooking instructions nearby.
Do you have spices and herbs older than your firstborn child?
Toss out old bottles, as they lose their potency, and replace with
Get rid of any cracked bowls. Bacteria can lurk in those
Organize your tool drawer and toss out what you hardly ever use.
Do you really need 10 wooden spoons and six rubber spatulas?
Buy and use a meat thermometer. Store it in a drawer right next
to your stove and oven and use it every time you cook meat or
Toss all those margarine and yogurt containers, as well as any
containers without lids. Invest in sturdy glass storage containers
that can go from freezer to microwave to table.
Keep only those items you use regularly. For example, if you've
moved beyond the baby stage, give away most of the bibs, bottles
and sippy cups. Put Christmas cookie cutters away now.
Can you barely see the exterior due to all the magnets holding
up photos, clippings and coupons? Clean the area up. Make room for
a running grocery list and perhaps a weekly meal plan.
Pull everything out one section at a time, wash down shelves and
reorganize it so you can see what's there. Toss out old gunky
bottles and jars of dressings, sauces and condiments.
Pull out a beautiful bowl (perhaps one you received as a wedding
gift) and place washed fruit in it. Keep it front and center.
Having a less cluttered kitchen puts your tools at your
fingertips and makes the task of cooking a nutritious meal a little
Christine M. Palumbo, RD, is a nutritionist living in Naperville.
See more of Christine's stories here.
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