My 5 Must Have Items in the Kitchen for a Healthier Lifestyle

I don’t know about you guys but I definitely had some peaks and valleys since vowing that 2020 is going to be my healthiest year yet! I’m definitely on the right track and I’m very proud of myself. However, with sicknesses and unforeseen health issues, I’ve had a couple setbacks. That said, I want to continue to motivate all of you to be your healthiest self in 2020, and live a healthier lifestyle, and in return I really hope you guys continue to motivate me.

But I wanna be really clear about one thing – this is not about weight loss to me. Sure, losing a little weight or looking better in my clothes are huge bonuses to making healthier choices in my life. But that is not the reason I’m doing this. In fact, year after year where I made a resolution to lose weight I failed over and over and over and that’s because when I focus on weight it’s not as much of a motivator for me and when I focus on health. I don’t know if the same would’ve rang true before I had kids. I don’t know if making a commitment to better health would’ve stuck. But now that I’m a mother and I have two little humans to live for, everything has changed. So when I tell myself I’m going to be healthier for them it’s much easier for me to keep that commitment to myself because it’s a commitment to my children.

Living a Healthier Lifestyle

Anyway, I thought today would be a good day to share some things that I keep on hand in my kitchen to help me lead a healthier lifestyle. And I hope you guys find these things helpful too. And as always, if you have any tips or tricks that you would like to share in the comments below of things that you have in your kitchen and help you make better choices I’d love for you to share them. Okay, let’s get into it.

Reusable Bags

We hear so much about doing meal prep in order to make better food choices. And I definitely think that’s helpful when you go to an office and pack a lunch eat at work. However, I think it’s just as important to have snacks that you can use as a quick grab and go. I know a lot of you reading this are moms – some working moms, some stay at home moms. I find that on days that I’m not out of the house for a job, and I am either working from home or at home with my children, I really need easy snacks that are good for me. So every Sunday when we go to the farmers market,  I buy a bunch of veggies and then when we get home immediately clean and cut them all up. If I don’t do it as soon as we get home, I won’t do it at all and they will go bad in refrigerator. Anyone else like this? If you don’t clean and cut your produce up right away you’ll never use it? I can’t be the only one.

Anyway, it’s become a little Sunday tradition for me. You guys might’ve seen in an Instagram story the other day that I tend to roast a lot of those veggies right away as well. And then what I’ll do is take the roasted veggies or even just the raw cut up veggies and split them up into these reusable bags for a little grab and go snack whenever I need them. In the photo below, I am roasting cauliflower from the farmer’s market. So easy to do and so yummy. I’ll then put it in a reusable plastic bag so I can quickly grab it on my way out the door as a healthy snack. I also will sometimes prep the cauliflower (or another veggie), by washing it, chopping it up and throwing it in these bags. That way I can snack on them or they are ready to go if I decide I want to roast them another night for dinner. Whether it’s a quick snack because I don’t have time to eat a full meal with my kiddos, or whether it’s a grab and go while I run out the door and eat it in my car kind of snack, at least I am eating something nutritious, and working toward the healthier lifestyle goal of mine!

reusable bags healthier lifestyle

reusable bags healthier lifestyle

 1. REUSABLE BAGS

Using reusable bags for snacks like this, and just in general, is so much better for the environment than using single-use plastic bags. I love these ones because they BPA-free, they are really easy to clean and they have an adorable design. You can wash them just like any other plastic container, and turn them upside down to dry. If you still have one something that you dry bottles or sippy cups on, you could easily put these on there to dry too. Not only are they much better for the environment, but they also keep money in your pocket because you won’t be buying more all the time. I truly can’t recommend the switch enough!

Home Chef

Usually the only time of day where I actually get to sit down and have a meal is dinner. Sometimes lunch, but mostly dinner. And that’s where Home Chef comes in. Relying on Home Chef goes back to my new motto of whole foods over processed foods. It makes me so happy when I get my Home Chef delivery every week and I get to open the box and unpack all of the amazing ingredients! They are meals that I feel good about eating and I feel good about feeding to my family. I really admire stay-at-home-moms who are able to do all that they do and put meals on the table. And that I wish I was that kind of super mom, but I’m just not and I need help.

homechef healthier lifestyle

 1. $100 OFF HOMECHEF

I’m sure you’ve heard about a ton of different meal delivery services. But if you’re reading this, and if you trust me, please hear me out on this one. Because I think this one is really incredible for a plethora of reasons.

If you don’t know what Home Chef is, or if you’re not really familiar with this particular home-delivery service, listen up because I want to tell you why this one is so different from the rest! It is a home meal delivery service that delivers fresh ingredients right to your doorstep once a week. One of my favorite things about it, especially as a mom, is that the recipes are so quick and easy. I’m talking it takes me half the amount of time to make these recipes than a few other meal delivery services I tried in the past. They even have oven-ready meals which basically means you throw the ingredients in a pan and pop it in the oven to cook. Could it be easier than that? But in addition to that, they have express meals and in general all of their meals take very minimal prep. For example, if it says a meal takes 30 to 40 minutes, that’s usually just because of the bake time and not because you’ll be chopping forever.

I also really love that they started putting a Fresh Start label on the meal options that are better for you. So if I want to eat particularly better one week, I’ll make sure to put those meals in my cart. Also, unlike other meal delivery services you can customize each meal. So if a meal comes with chicken, let’s say chicken tacos, and you prefer steak, then you could make that substitution. This really helps to make sure that you’re getting meals that you absolutely love every single week and not something that you don’t want to make.

You guys might know that I am vegetarian, and I am absolutely obsessed with their tofu dishes. So much so that after I make them for the week I go out and re-buy all the ingredients, so I can make them again! Okay okay, who am I kidding, I don’t go out and buy the ingredients. I send Kevin to the grocery store to buy the ingredients. Ha!

home chef healthier lifestyle

 1. $100 OFF HOMECHEF

Anyway, I had to add that to this because it’s honestly been so helpful for me to get nutritious and super yummy meals on the table for my family. I really couldn’t recommend them more and right now they have their absolute best deal going on. You used to be able to get $80 off your first four boxes. But now they’ve upped the deal to$100 off your first four boxes because they know that once you try their stuff you’ll be hooked! The code is ALI100off to get that discount, and if you use one of the links above it should be automatically added for you! If you have any questions about it whatsoever please just ask!

Also, if you haven’t joined my Facebook group yet, I highly recommend doing that and you can always post the question on there so all of my awesome followers can give you their opinion. I’ve seen someone post about it before and everybody’s reviews were pretty amazing! So don’t even just take my word for it. Ask around! People love it. And there’s a reason for that.

home chef menu

 1. $100 OFF HOMECHEF

Avocado Mayo

I know you guys probably saw me talking about avocado mayo on my Instagram story the other day, but I wanted to add it to this post! It’s something that I have found myself using so often lately, and it’s a much healthier alternative than traditional mayonnaise. Traditional mayonnaise typically uses soybean oil and added sugars. Where as avocado oil is made from, well, avocados! So it contains good healthy fats and omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids. And here’s the best part, it tastes sooo close to the real thing! The reason I say so close, and not exactly like it, is because it does taste slightly different, but not in a bad way. Honestly I think it’s a really in a good way! It tastes more natural. I also sometimes use veganaise which is slightly different than avocado oil and honestly tastes exactly like traditional mayo.

avocado mayo

Anyway, I wanted to share for anybody out there either looking to eat more plant-based or just looking for a healthier alternative to mayonnaise. And this is not just for sandwiches! In fact, I never use it on sandwiches. At least not as it is. Instead I use it to make cremas to drizzle over tacos and veggies. I’ll also make quinoa bowls with a bunch of different roasted vegetables on top and then drizzle and avocado mayo crema over the top and it is freaking fantastic! And this is all you need to do to make an avocado mayo crema. It’s a literally the simplest thing ever. I’m going to link to a few different avocado mayos below, you really can’t go wrong! There’s a vegan option too!

avocado mayo

To make a crema: Take a few tablespoons of avocado mayo, squeeze in as much lime juice and add as much lime zest as you like to taste. I would give you exact measurements, but I honestly don’t even know any because I always just do it to taste. You can add a little water to thin out the crema if you like it more watery. And salt and pepper to taste. Seriously try this and you will love it! I always drizzle it over sweet potato tacos or tofu tacos when I make them. If you make this and use it please tell me what you think! I think you’re going to absolutely love it! And it’s one of those swaps you can make and you’re seriously never know the difference – But your body will.

Apple Slicer

As many of you know Ramen has been my go to for a really long time. Yes, I’m obsessed with it and like the way it tastes, but the main reason is because it’s so simple to make. After the water boils, literally the noodles take about 60 seconds to cook. Even less for me because I like the noodles a little al dente. Is that even the right word to use when you’re talking about Ramen? Ha ha! It seems too fancy of a word to describe Ramen. Anyway, I realized that I really needed to stop eating that, especially in the morning, when I could choose a whole food first. So, like I mentioned above, I have this new motto where I always choose a whole plant food over processed. And what that means to me is that if I’m hungry, I promise myself that I will eat a plant/whole food before I grab a processed food. And after I’m done eating that whole food, if I still want the processed food I let myself have some. It has helped me so so so much! And even if I end up eating a little more calories, that’s okay with me because at the end of the day I’m getting way more nutrients and like I said this is about living a healthier lifestyle and not necessarily losing weight.

So the reason I put an apple slicer on here is really because I just think any device in your kitchen that will make it easier for you to eat a whole foods is something you should make sure you have on hand in your kitchen. For me, I love an apple slicer because as soon as me and my kids wake up in the morning I come downstairs and push it over an apple to slice it into a bunch of pieces in two seconds. And then me and both my kiddos enjoy that apple together. And yes, apples have natural sugar in them. But like I said, I’m just trying to eat whole foods over processed foods as much as possible right now.

apple slicer healthier lifestyle

1. APPLE SLICER 

Anybody else’s random drawer of kitchen utensils look like this?! Any tips for organizing?! Ha! I am sure there are so many other gadgets like this that make it easier chop up vegetables. Some are a little gimmicky and I’ve bought them only to find that they don’t cut things well at all and are a super big pain to clean. But if there’s anything you have tried that you really loved, I would absolutely love it if you would share in the comments below! I’m really looking for other things to make it easier for me to eat fruits and veggies as well!

Grapefruit Juice

I briefly mentioned this recently when I talked about how I try to drink a glass of water before each meal to fill me up, but I try to always have grapefruit juice handy! Similarly to drinking the water before a meal, I also drink a shot of grapefruit juice before indulgent or high-calorie meals. If you Google it, grapefruit juice helps your body block some of the fat being absorbed. It’s also why you’re not supposed to drink grapefruit juice before you take medication – it can block the medication from getting into your bloodstream. The FDA even made an announcement warning people about this. Super interesting! I would say that you should ask your doctor if you are able to drink grapefruit juice, if you are taking a medication!

grapefruit juice healthier lifestyle

Suggestions from You!

Before I go, I actually have a question for you guys. As many of you know, drinking a ton of water is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body. And I, like I’m sure many of you, struggle to keep up with my water intake during the day. I know a lot of people have those at-home water dispensers. Where a huge 10 gallon jug of water is delivered to your house on a regular basis. Do any of you have one of those and do you recommend it? I just asked because I thought about getting one for a while now but don’t really know if it’s any better than just having a water filter pitcher in my house. Thanks for any advice you can give me on this, and if you have any other suggestions for things I need in my kitchen to for a healthier lifestyle, please let me know in the comments below!

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1. REUSABLE BAGS

22 Thoughts

22 thoughts on “My 5 Must Have Items in the Kitchen for a Healthier Lifestyle

  1. Great tips! And I echo 100x, as a pharmacist, please check with your doctor or pharmacist before you drink daily grapefruit or juice. It interacts with so many lifesaving medications.

  2. Hi Aly, A couple of years ago I tried out Hello Fresh, Plated, and Home Chef. I made the mistake oF reviewing the nutritional facts for Home Chef after I placed my order. The sodium content was shocking. Up to a 1000 mg per serving depending on the meal. It was way more than Hello Fresh or Plated’s meals. I ended up messaging the company and cancelling my order. Hopefully, they’ve corrected this now! Thanks for your blogs and inspiring positivity! Best to you and your family!

  3. Hi Ali!!
    Just wanted to let you know that IKEA now make reusable recyclable zip top bags (similar to the brand name ones) but these are super cheap and good for the environment plus if you food prep and freeze like I do you will need more than you can afford with the silicone ones. Just another option! Grapefruit juice in water is great u just have to watch the amount of sugar in your juice (I love the ruby red but it’s full of sugar)

  4. I’m right there with you trying to keep up with my healthy habits! Just a heads up, I learned the hard way that I was supposed to limit the amount of grapefruit I drink/eat since I have a Thyroid disorder and also take anti-anxiety meds. Apparently, it can interfere with both medications! I actually really love grapefruit, so was bummed about this. Just thought I’d share since I just learned this from my doctor.

  5. We LOVE our water cooler dispenser!!! It has a setting for hot (which is locked so kids don’t burn themselves), cold, and then the perfect temp for drinking. You know how water out of the fridge is super cold?! This is the perfect temp!!! Love it! 🙂
    I’m excited to try the grapefruit juice!! Thanks for sharing!!

  6. Instead Of reusable plastic bags, consider Planet Box. They have larger ones that hold 4 cups of food- enough for a full meal, or smaller snack sized containers. Made Of stainless steel and last for years. A bit of an up front investment, but healthier for environment, healthier for humans than plastic, and I calculated as much as I was spending in lunch bags, over time the planet box containers are cheaper.

  7. Hi Ali, I am amazed that I do a few of the items on your list like the apple slicer and the avocado mayo. I have 2 teens and my husband. What I discovered and rave about is the Phillips airfryer. Oh it changed my life. I can cook chicken, ribs or steaks in about 20 to 30 min and it comes out perfect. We usually buy marinated meats and toss it in the air fryer. It’s a healthier and quicker alternative.

  8. Yes, I highly recommend the delivered water. We have the dispenser with hot and cold water. I fill my drinking containers each every day and take them to work. It definitely helps me to drink more water. I’ve given up all the diet soda, chai lattes, and everything else I used to drink. I just have one Bai a morning for my caffeine, and water the rest of the day. I Never thought I’d be that person. Water at the movies? The ballpark? Yes!!

  9. Hi Ali,
    Great recommendations – I love my apple slicer! I was curious if you buy meal plans for four so that the kiddos also eat home chef or if you make their food separately? If you buy home chef for 4, do you find that you have a lot of leftovers that get wasted?

  10. Hi Ali! Great post! I too struggle getting in my daily water intake. At work I have bottle with the different times listed so that I can see and make sure that I’m drinking my water or when I need to catch up :-). I also find it helpful to add some fruits (lemon, lime, berries, oranges) or cucumbers and mint diffused into my water. It tastes delicious and makes me want to drink my water.

  11. Water techniques (all over SoCal) will come out and install an RO (reverse osmosis) faucet next to your regular kitchen sink faucet, you can even one with a separate instant hot. The filter goes under the kitchen sink and you have clean water to drink all the time. They even install remineralizers for the water as well. I suggest the whole house regular filter especially since you have little ones I’m addition to the RO tap. We’ve installed them in every house we’ve lived in for over a decade, even rentals 😬

  12. A lot of people don’t realize grapefruit juice will interact with a ton of Medication. Please check with your doctor before drinking or eating Grapefruits.

  13. Hi Ali,
    I am also a vegetarian and have been meal prepping on Sundays. I usually will roast cauliflower, brussell sprouts, butternut squash, sweet potato and peppers. Sometimes I will throw rinsed chickpeas. I either separate these into containers to take for lunches or make quinoa and add the veggies to that. I will usually add fresh spinach when warming up the roasted veggies for lunch too. I didn’t think about using the reusable bags, that would be great for the fruit and raw veggies. Thanks for all the info and keep up the great work!! 2020 feels healthier already!

  14. I personally do not like drinking water from the big water jugs that get delivered. I had them at my office but questioned how clean the dispensing machines were over time. We installed a reverse osmosis system in our home (and my office). I love switching up my water bottles and filling them with clean water from the RO tap. It keeps me interested in drinking something that is so boring . I think my staff like the idea of having clean drinking water from its own system as wel.

  15. I’ve toyed with the idea of reusable bags, but how do you keep them clean? I’m imagining food getting stuck in corners, and me trying to dig it out. Ugh! Any trick to the trade?

  16. I love all of your ideas for meals! Looking forward to more ideas! As for ramen, it was recently in either the news or a story about it that I can post. It’s about what is in it: From Healthline. Though instant ramen noodles provide iron, B vitamins and manganese, they lack fiber, protein and other crucial vitamins and minerals.

    Additionally, their MSG, TBHQ and high sodium contents may negatively affect health, such as by increasing your risk of heart disease, stomach cancer and metabolic syndrome. Awful and sad because ramen is so yummy!

  17. We have had a Poland springs water cooler for as long as I can remember. I feel it helps my kids and I drink a ton of water throughout the day. It has been great for when my kids were younger bc one they thought it so fun and they could help themselves so they felt very self sufficient. Not going to lie I did find my youngest pretending to swim in the pool he made on the floor😬😳

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