Take this quiz and “Marie Kondo” your kitchen. If it doesn’t bring you joy, why eat it? Giving your kitchen a makeover can be a great approach to more enjoyable eating habits. Often with new clients, I provide a kitchen questionnaire for them to fill out. The reason for this is simple — to determine what is in their kitchen that can serve their goals and bring them long-term joy. Today I share this questionnaire with you, too. Let’s makeover that kitchen of yours.
I really find it effective combining the KonMari method – which encourages the purging of physical things that don’t bring you joy – with nutrition coaching. Among a number of reasons for this is it’s important to visualize how much better you will feel once certain changes have been made in your life. The power of intention is a mighty thing. Also, there are many areas of our lives where a good purge is necessary. Taking an honest and healthy assessment of our kitchens is a high priority area.
Be open while answering this questionnaire. As you fill it out, try not to be defensive. I’ve heard statements like, “But my kids love these Cheez It crackers,” “I was raised not to waste food, I feel awful about throwing it away,” and “I’m sure I’ll need this eventually. Can I hold onto it for now?”
The biggest question is whether these foods serve you and bring wellness to you. You will assess your red, yellow and green level foods (the descriptions are below) as well as kitchen tools and equipment. The more equipped you are at home, the more enjoyable your cooking and prepping will be!
The first step to evaluating your kitchen life is to understand the main principals of the makeover. Berardi’s First Law says, “If a food is in your house or possession, either you, someone you love or someone you marginally tolerate will eventually eat it.”
That law stands true for healthy and unhealthy foods – so why not lean into healthier options more often for the betterment of you and the people you love?
“Red light” foods are ones that aren’t great for you. They may be full of added sugars or trans fats. They’re often pre-packaged and trigger binge-eating habits or additional food choices that don’t fuel you, your brain or your body. “Right light” foods are typically a “no go.”
“Yellow light” foods are OK in moderation. These might be foods or meals you can enjoy at restaurants or as an occasional treat, but shouldn’t consume regularly at home. Examples may include chips and salsa, pizza, or frozen yogurt. “Yellow light” foods should be viewed as “approach with caution.”
“Green light” foods are foods you want to strive to eat more often – the ones that make you feel good, mentally and physically. Think proteins and legumes, fresh vegetables and fruits, eggs, healthy grains and nutritious desserts (mainly, dark chocolate). “Green light” foods mean “go for it!”
Step 3: Answer the Questions
First up, analyze the food and drink options available in your fridge, freezer and pantry.
What “red light” food & drinks do you have?
What “red light” food & drinks are you willing to part with or make more inconvenient to get?
What “yellow light” food & drinks do you have?
What “yellow light” food & drinks are you willing to part with or make more inconvenient to get?
What “green light” food & drinks do you have?
What “green light” food & drinks could you stock up on or add?
Next, analyze the equipment and tools you have in your kitchen:
Note the items currently in your kitchen: Slow cooker, blender, hand blender, mixer, food processor, grater, measuring cups, measuring spoons, chef’s knife, other prep knives, wooden spoon(s), spatula(s), whisk(s), mixing bowl(s), non-stick frying or saute pan(s), small saucepan(s), medium saucepan(s), large soup pot(s), ovenproof casserole dish(es), roasting pan(s), cookie sheet(s), aluminum foil, parchment paper, storage container(s), cutting board, strainer or colander, salad spinner.
Do you have any other kitchen equipment or tools worth mentioning?
What other equipment, if anything, might you need?
What other equipment, if anything, are you willing to add right now?
Last, analyze the organization of your kitchen.
On a scale of 1-10 – 1 being chaotic and fill and 10 being Martha Stewart-approved – how would you rank your overall kitchen organization?
Right now, do you have a system for regular food preparation, such as weekly meal prepping or making meals for work the night before? If yes, what?
Right now, do you have a system for shopping and restocking food, such as creating weekly shopping lists. If yes, what?
What, if anything, could you do to improve your kitchen’s organization and food preparation systems?
Step 4: Begin the Purge
Now that you’ve gone through the Kitchen Setup Quiz, the choice is yours as to what you plan to discard. Here are the six basic KonMari rules that will go in accordance with your questionnaire responses:
Commit yourself to tidying your kitchen. Get your gloves and garbage bags ready!
Imagine your ideal lifestyle and how you want to look and feel post-purge. Stay true to this task (you already know the items that add on the pounds and the ones that don’t).
Assess what you have on your red and yellow color lists and discard accordingly — i.e. junk food and random condiments you’ve forgotten about should be first in the garbage bag. Afterward, sincerely thank the discarded food for serving its purpose.
Reorganize by category (grains, beverages, meats, produce, measuring cups, etc) not by location (cabinet, freezer, refrigerator drawers)
Ask yourself if the remaining foods spark joy for you. Maybe that decadent bar of chocolate on your yellow list — if it’s worth it and in moderation — gets a pass.
Your kitchen may be feeling awfully empty after you’ve gone through it. That’s totally OK. Take the time to reflect on what’s gone. Your “red” list may have included those boxed cake mixes, soda and candy. A typical yellow list may include sugary granola bars, flavored Yoplait and bagels — not bad, but definitely not the best for long-term joy. As for appliances, maybe you had too many of the same measuring spoons, a couple different versions of a blender and some Tupperware with missing lids. Congrats, you’ve just freed yourself of all of that.
Step 5: Restock!
As you begin to restock with more nutritious foods, keep the process simple. As suggested by Precision Nutrition, pick your three favorite:
Write down a grocery list with your choices. Don’t worry if they’re fresh or frozen. It could look like these examples:
Vegetables — spinach, cucumber, zucchini.
Fruits — grapefruit, peaches, pineapple.
Lean protein — salmon, ground turkey, chicken breast.
The idea behind this is to keep healthier options in your home and keep the more tempting and less healthy food out of your home. I am not advising you to never eat your favorite junk food again, just make sure it’s not easily accessible in your home.
Remember, your environment will support your goals if it’s set up properly. I give you my word as a coach who’s helped to set up many kitchens: The healthier the kitchen, the healthier the individual. That’s what sparks the most joy! Good luck and feel free to comment with your own kitchen makeover adventure.
Don’t Marie Kondo your kitchen with harsh chemicals. You can easily make high-quality natural cleaners with these simple recipes below.