Inspired by products and trends at KBIS 2019
Eating healthier and losing weight show up on almost every top five New Year’s resolution list, but if you’re like many people, you likely gave up weeks (or months) ago.
People make the sensible connection between what they eat and their health, but miss out on the opportunity to design a kitchen space that supports the creation of healthy new habits and where preparing healthy and tasty meals is easy and fun.
To put it simply, your kitchen can help you create and enjoy healthier meals – or it can subtly sabotage your healthy eating efforts. How, you might be wondering?
Evaluate Your Kitchen Space
To better understand if your new kitchen supports overall wellness, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your kitchen have good lighting?
- Are your countertops uncluttered surfaces available for preparing a healthy dinner?
- Are they quick and easy to clean afterward?
- What kind of small appliances do you own? If your answer is a slow cooker and blender or food processor, great! These helpful tools can help you create healthier meals.
- Are appliances easy to reach and in good condition?
- Are you confronted by a deep fryer whenever you walk into the kitchen, making you long for homemade fries tonight?
- How accessible are your pots, pans, and cooking utensils? Do you need to strain your back (or get on your knees with a flashlight) to find the right skillet, or is it close at hand?
- Is your range or cooktop easy to cook on and clean afterward?
- Do you have a functional, reasonably quiet vent hood to pull cooking grease, odors, steam and smoke out of the kitchen? Do you remember to turn it on?
- Are your pantry and refrigerator stocked with fresh foods and seasonings to make healthier meals? Are their shelves easy to see into and access?
- Do your sink, faucet and dishwasher make cleanup easier after you cook?
All of these factors can make cooking a pleasure or a pain. Plus, making your own meals means complete control over portion size, fat, salt, sugar and overall nutrition.
If getting a healthier meal to the table (or into a bag for lunch at work) is quicker and more enjoyable, you end up doing more meal prep at home, supporting your health eating goals for 2019 – and the years to come.
How New Products & Appliances Can Help
Major kitchen brands like GE, Miele, Thermador, Franke, and others want to help. They exhibited new products at the 2019 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) that can help support your wellness journey.
KBIS, as it’s known in the trade industry, is where companies like these bring their new fixtures, appliances and other wares for design and building pros to see in one massive expo. In February 2019 appliance manufacturers showed off minimalist LED lighting packages designed for illuminating countertops. (After all, a dark cooking surface can be the difference between a julienned carrot and a julienned fingertip.) Low maintenance materials for countertops, like engineered stone, porcelain, Dekton and Geoluxe (an engineered mineral surface with a natural stone look) also made a big splash at KBIS because these low maintenance materials will hold up for years and are quick and easy to clean.
Other popular and easy to clean kitchen staples included induction cooktops, as there’s never a baked on mess to scrape off, which can speed dinner to the table faster after long, tiring days at work. Miele and Signature Kitchen Suite showed ventilation hoods that start automatically and quietly when the induction burner signals a need. This keeps kitchens stink and grease free. Signature Kitchen Suite, Frigidaire Gallery and GE Appliances have built healthy features into their cooking appliances, like air fryers in ovens, steam and sous vide into pro style ranges.
There were also numerous cabinet organizers available to make accessing your cookware and spices easier. This will also make meal prep more efficient and enjoyable.
Small Changes Add Up
The good news is, even if you’re not in a position to update your kitchen right now, or you’re not quite ready to build or buy your dream home, you can still have some of these features in your kitchen to help support your healthy eating goals.
You can get a countertop convection steam oven, air fryer and portable induction burner, a sous vide accessory for cooking and organizers to install in your existing cabinetry. These were not on display at the show, but if you put them on display in your kitchen, you’ll have a daily reminder of how easy it is to make healthful meals at home.
If you’re spending hours meal prepping for work in your kitchen, you might also want to add an anti-fatigue mat where you spend the most time standing. Your back, hips, knees, ankles and feet will thank you – and be in better shape for your runs, hikes or rides.
Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCTWC is a wellness design consultant, Certified Kitchen Designer and the author of the New Bathroom Idea Book and New Kitchen Ideas That Work, (Taunton Press). Jamie can be found online at jamiegold.net.