As a kitchen designer and avid cook, I was fascinated, and a bit taken aback, by an article published recently in the British paper The Daily Mail, charging that modern kitchens make us fat.
The article blamed large comfy kitchens, oversize fridges, huge pantries, central islands and open shelving for our growing waistlines.
“We hang around in close proximity to food, munching distractedly while surfing the net, reading the papers or helping children with their homework — and taking in hundreds of extra calories without even noticing,” the author wrote.
Naturally, it got me to thinking about how I design kitchens now.
First, I believe there may be a bit of truth to the article. I remember Moms like mine, after dinner was cleaned up, would declare, “kitchen’s closed!” And it was, until breakfast. But now we do live a good part of our lives in our comfortable kitchens, and I could see how this might encourage overeating.
On the other hand, I believe there are many ways in which a thoughtfully designed kitchen can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
First, a pleasant well designed kitchen makes it easy and enjoyable to cook. People who prepare home cooked meals generally eat less and eat healthier foods. And a University of Minnesota study found children who ate family meals consumed more fruits, vegetables and fewer snack foods.
I've designed my own kitchen with a convenient prep island where I have plenty of room to can fresh tomatoes. The open storage below and the sink ensure that everything I need is right at hand.
Speaking of fruits and vegetables, many of today’s new refrigerators are specially designed to keep them fresher longer, preserving nutrients.
Small under counter refrigerators can be devoted to storing fruits, vegetables and healthy beverages conveniently within the reach of everyone, including children.
Providing adequate counter space around the sink, and outfitting it with accessories like cutting boards, colanders and a pull-out faucet makes it easy to prep fruits and vegetables.
Next up: some of my favorite appliances for healthy cooking, and more