Mar. 30. 2018
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Want to enjoy your kitchen more? Here’s how to fall in love with your kitchen and like spending time there.

Food has power — the power to nourish, fuel, comfort, connect and heal — and when you think of it like that, it’s easy to agree that it’s worth the time and energy to get the eat the good stuff. But who likes to spend time cooking when you hate your kitchen? Who wants to slave away in a kitchen that makes them stressed out? Since cooking and eating at home is a form of investing in yourself and your health, it’s easier — and more fun — when it’s in a space where you love to be.

Learning to enjoy your kitchen more doesn’t have to involve fancy new appliances or a full-on reno. Instead, decide on the activities and sentiments that you hope to embody in the room, and make updates from there!

6 tips and tricks that will help you enjoy your kitchen more

1. Make It Functional

Creating a functional kitchen should be your first priority. When a kitchen is “working”, it offers quick access to ingredients, keeps healthy food staples stocked, and makes cooking at home fun and easy!

Coming up with an organization system that works for you is a must, and keeping items stocked, in the right place, and well-labeled makes your life a whole lot easier. I stick to using uniform jars and canisters, all labeled and displayed in eyesight. You can see the full pantry tour here.

If you’re cooking a lot that also means that you’re cleaning! Making your sink and cleaning area as functional as possible can help make your cooking process a breeze if you clean as you go. I love this copper sink and faucet duo from Signature Hardware which makes the kitchen look beautiful, but most importantly gives me a lot of room to clean up those messy dishes from cooking.

Additionally, we have another utility farmhouse sink in the laundry room where I clean off the dirt from all the vegetables and produce I bring in from the garden and greenhouse. Keeping your spaces clean and tidy as you go, makes cooking and your kitchen much more enjoyable.

2. Make It Beautiful

I’d be lying if I said a functional kitchen was all I needed to get jazzed about cooking — I like it when it’s a clean, beautiful room, too.

  • Focus on lighting; welcome natural light when possible, and use undercabinet and recessed lighting if needed.
  • Think consistency; find uniform jars, canisters, and containers to corral similar items in style. I liked all of my favorites in my Pantry Tour.
  • Introduce plants to the mix! Potted friends help clear the air and spread good vibes — they look pretty too.
  • Display fresh flowers when you can. Who doesn’t love bloom or greens? A bouquet or bundle is always a great way to bring the outdoors in, and the pops of color add warming, inviting feel to the room.

3. Keep Things Tidy

As I shared in my pantry tour, I take organization pretty seriously in the kitchen. It’s not just for the type-A personalities, though; anyone can benefit from a tidy space they use every day.

Here are a few, quick additional tips to keep things tidy and organized:

  1. Utilize trays in drawers — not just the silverware drawer! I use these bamboo trays for hard-to-organize items like my teabags.
  2. Use a cookbook stand to prop up the current recipe you’re taste-testing that week. The prongs help to keep it held up, and open to the right page while you get your hands messy cooking.
  3. Find a good system for drying dishes. I love my dish drainer that sits inside the sink since it doesn’t take up any valuable real estate on the counter. Here’s a similar option.

4. Consider The Layout

Beyond the feng-shui appeal of the space, the layout matters so much for the flow and ease of use while cooking. Consider where you’re putting your most-used items, and think about where the best place for the drink glasses, dinner plates, and flatware would be. Ask yourself if you can be using this space smarter — and adjust accordingly. It could be as simple as switching a few cabinets!

I always like to have enough counter space to have a dedicated “chopping station” — I’ve found that it matters a lot to me on batch cooking day.

5. Stock It!

A freshly-stocked kitchen is an instant way to love your space — nobody can deny that! From the pantry staples to updates to the spice rack, fresh produce, and my favorite snacks, the spoils of a grocery run always put a smile on my face. Not sure which items to stock up on? We’ve got you covered.

6. Plan Out Your Meals — Even The “911” Ones

The end goal? To create a kitchen that works FOR you, and that includes the times when you’re tired, in a hurry, or uninspired to cook a fresh meal. That’s where meal planning comes into play — prepping ingredients and meal components ahead of time to then be pulled together the day-of cuts down on time, energy, and stress.

Planning out your meals and leftovers ahead of time keeps the kitchen working at its highest and happiest frequency. Don’t you agree?

Setting your environment up for success is key to maintaining balanced eating habits for the long-term, even when life is busy, stressful, or you’re out of your normal routine.

Our Mindful Nutrition Method™ students know that maintaining the balance they’d like to have is so much easier when they make it easier to follow through, and having balanced options in your fridge is one simple way to make that possible!

Additionally, all our Mindful Nutrition Method students get a full video tour of how to stock your pantry, fridge, freezer, and kitchen along with some other amazing bonus video lessons. Are you interested in these bonuses? Watch the free masterclass to learn more!