Organize your kitchen

The kitchen is the hub of the house. When you have guests over, where does everyone usually migrate to? The kitchen! You will spend many hours in the kitchen preparing and serving meals, so being organized can save you precious time and energy. Here are some tips to get you on the right track:

  • Go through your drawers and cabinets and sort items into categories that make sense to you. Things that work together should be stored together.
  • Throw out items that are broken or chipped. Put items that you rarely use in a storage cupboard to make room for what you do use on a regular basis. Sell or give away any items that you do not use or want.
  • Store dishes and silverware near where you eat and/or the dishwasher. To maximize space in your cupboards use racks to stack dishes.
  • Remove those items on your counter that you do not use on a regular basis and find a storage place.
  • Store pots and pans close to the stove. Nest pots and pans to save space.
  • Spices and seasonings should also be close by to where you are preparing and cooking your food.
  • Clean and organize your refrigerator and freezer. Store like items together. Discard any old, stale and outdated foods.
  • Tackle your pantry the same way. Purchase storage containers with air-tight lids to keep foods fresh. Store like items together, for example, cereals in one area, pasta/rice in another. Foods that you will use on a regular basis should be easily accessible.
  • Keep a list on your fridge of any leftovers inside.
  • Keep a running grocery list and make sure to write down when you run out of an item. This will save emergency trips to the grocery store to buy a staple item that you thought that you had.

Your kitchen will stay organized as long as you find a place for everything and put things back in their proper place!

Food Preparation Tips

Once you have come back from grocery shopping, you should have a clean and organized kitchen to put your groceries away. Here are some other tips to save you time during the week.

  • Post your weekly menu on the fridge where you can refer to it quickly. Read ahead and make sure to take any items out of the freezer to defrost.
  • Wash and prepare fresh veggies for the early part of the week. Pack mini bags of veggies for lunches.
  • If cutting carrots for Monday’s supper, do a few extra for Wednesday’s recipe or if making a salad for Tuesday, make extra for Thursday.
  • Keep frozen veggies handy for at the end of the week when you run out of fresh veggies.
  • Prepared salads and coleslaw are convenient and nutritious and are great to choose when you don’t have time to make from scratch.
  • Cook once and eat twice or three times! Make use of any leftovers by having them another night when you need a quick supper, taking for lunch or freezing for use another day.
  • Make extra muffins and freeze for another day
  • If you won’t be using all of a loaf of bread or bag of bagels, freeze them.
  • Bake and serve bread and rolls can be stored in the freezer and comes in very handy when you want “just out of the oven” bread.
  • Cooked deli chickens can be a great time saver. One deli chicken yields about 3 cups of diced chicken. Make chicken salad sandwiches or add to mixed greens for a lunch.
  • While tonight’s dinner is cooking, start to prepare tomorrow’s supper meal or make your lunch for the next day.
  • If browning ground beef, do extra if needed later in the week. Same with chicken breasts, cook extra for salads or a quick supper.
  • When chopping fresh onions, do extra and freeze for another time.
  • Grate extra cheese and store in a zippered bag in the freezer, or purchase pre-shredded cheese to save time.

Menu planning

Follow the guidelines below to help you control your diabetes.

  1. Eat 3 balanced meals per day, no more than 6 hours between them. Snacking between meals is encouraged. Eating at regular intervals helps keep blood sugars stable. It also helps prevent over-eating at meals.
  2. Balanced meals are very important! Be sure to have some carbohydrates, fat and protein at all meals. This allows for slower digestion, which means slower absorption of carbohydrates, which then means more stable blood sugars. Also, balanced meals are needed for you get all the necessary nutrients in a day for optimal health.
  3. If you are thirsty, drink water, tea, coffee or sugar-free pop, or sugar-free beverages such as Kool-Aid® and Crystal Light ®.
  4. Fats are important in moderation and remember there are good fats and not-so-good fats. Try to lower your fat intake by:
    • Avoiding fried foods.
    • Trimming fat and skin from meat and poultry before cooking.
    • Using lower fat milk - 2%, 1%, or skim.
    • Using only small amounts of soft margarine, vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
  5. Limit your intake of sweets such as:
    • sugar, jam, jelly, marmalade, molasses, syrups and honey
    • regular soft drinks, fruit flavoured crystals, fruit drinks, sweetened fruit juices, and iced tea mixes
    • canned fruit in heavy syrup, sundaes, regular Jell-O ®
    • candy, chocolate bars, marshmallows, fudge, etc.
    • baked goods such as pies, cakes, donuts and muffins
  6. Include fibre in the diet! Fibre plays a role in stabilizing blood sugars, can help lower cholesterol, and helps you feel full longer. Be sure to choose whole wheat breads, cereals and pastas, fruits and vegetables and dried beans and lentils.