Do you set New Year’s resolutions each year? I tend to think of them as “goals” rather than resolutions – that way I can make a list of things I’d like to tackle. For me, “goals” feels more inspiring and intentional than “resolutions.” Whether you are the type to set resolutions, goals, or even if you just like the New Year to be a fresh start, there are tons of ways you can change things up in the kitchen. We’ve put together some ideas to help you kick the new year off right.
Sure, you can resolve to lose weight, diet, eat better, etc. But there are more food resolutions and goals that you can take on. They might even make it easier to tackle. Here are a few.
- Try new things: If you feel like you might be stuck in a rut in the kitchen, now’s a good time to change up your menu. Make it a point to try new foods – you can even join a local CSA (community supported agriculture) to get fresh, seasonal foods that are grown by local farmers.
- Cook something new: Go beyond simply trying new things and add some new recipes to your repertoire. Try out new styles of cuisines, prepare old standbys like chicken breasts in a whole new way, or seek out recipes that are totally unlike the ones you tend to use.
- Change up your habits (or add new ones): Reducing consumption of meat can be good for some families, particularly if you eat a lot of beef. Adding a weekly meatless day (like Meatless Monday) is an easy way to remember to diversify your food habits.
- Dust off your cookbooks (or Pinterest feed): Cooking the same things over and over again? Why not bust out the cookbooks you never look at anymore. Or, you try scrolling way down your recipe boards on Pinterest to revisit hidden gems.
- Reduce waste: Some statistics show the average family throws out more than $600 of food per year! If your family has the bad habit of consistently throwing out leftovers or food that’s gone bad, now’s a great time to find ways to reduce waste.
- Bring your lunch: Eating out at lunch too often? A great way to combat that food waste we just talked about (and save money) is to bring your lunch to work with you. Leftovers offer an easy way to do this, but you can definitely find some great make-ahead meal prep recipes as well.
Are you cupboards a mess? Do you constantly buy the same thing over and over because you couldn’t find it in the abyss of your pantry? (*raises hand*) Whatever your organizational woes, the new year is the perfect time for a fresh start. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Throw out expired products: The beginning of the year is the perfect time to toss any expired stuff in your kitchen. Check the dates on all the canned food and other products you don’t use very often, and toss spices that are more than a few years old.
- Add containers, shelves, hooks, and baskets: There are endless options for upgraded storage in your pantry or shelves. Using containers for flour and such, adding hooks to hold unruly utensils, and bringing in baskets to catch various items makes a huge difference in organization.
- Use an app or old-fashioned list to keep track of pantry items: If you’re like me and you struggle to keep a handle on your pantry or fridge items, being intentional in your management can be super useful. Consider a magnetic list or try an app like MealBoard.
- Update your spice rack: Managing spices can be a chore, so why not upgrade your spice rack? Find a better method of storage (like magnetic containers or a new shelving unit). Then, start adding the date of purchase to your containers so you know when they should be thrown out.
- Maximize space: If you have a small kitchen, maximizing your space can completely change things. Adding additional shelves inside the cabinets, using hooks to hold various items, adding extra racks and shelves, and so forth can make organization easier.
- Declutter and donate: If you’re looking to make a fresh start in your kitchen, you’ve got to get rid of items you never use. Be honest with yourself about things like coffee mugs, pots, and small appliances or gadgets. If you seldom use them, donating them is a much better use.
Changing up the décor in your kitchen is a great way to be inspired to spend more time in there. If you’re bored of your kitchen’s look or if you’re just ready for a change, there are plenty of big and small ways you can get a whole new look.
- Add a fresh coat of paint: For a dramatic change, paint the whole kitchen. Or, do an accent wall that draws the eye and transforms the space. If you’re scared of paint, consider freshening up the paint you do have or going just a shade or two darker or lighter. Even if you stick to white, a fresh coat freshens the look overall.
- Use a letter board: Letter boards are fun ways to liven up the kitchen, and you can change them whenever the mood strikes, seasonally, or when you want to make a bold statement. It’s such a small change, but it makes your kitchen feel up to date.
- Upgrade your dishes: If you’re looking to change the dinner table, or you’re over your mix and match hand me downs, a new dinnerware set can elevate your style with minimal effort. We compiled a list of our favorite dish sets: click here for inspiration!
- Change the look without over-committing: If change is scary (or out of budget), small changes can make an impact. Changing up your cabinet hardware can be a fun way to liven up the space. Even splashes of color through fruit bowls or tea towels creates excitement, and lets you experiment with color schemes.
- Rethink counter space: If your counters are covered with appliances and mail and whatever else, it’s harder to appreciate your space. Reroute items that are often dropped off (mail, keys, bags) to a different location. Put appliances in the cupboard. Do whatever it takes to make a cleaner counter.
- Take on the remodel: Is this the year you take on the remodel? Why not! If you’ve been holding off but the time feels right, consider this the official sign that you should do it this year. Whether it’s something small like adding a backsplash, or large like new cabinetry, you can do it this year!
Whether you want to make use of what you already have or look for ways to upgrade, the new year is a perfect time to start from scratch. Make the commitment to your kitchen this year and you’ll find brand new sources of inspiration for cooking, gathering, and even just enjoying your morning coffee.
What are your kitchen goals and resolutions for this upcoming year?