Kitchen Design with Wellness in Mind : According to LiLu
Kitchen Design with Wellness in Mind- According to LiLu
Cooking At Home is a Healthy Habit
Two weeks ago we wrote about the reason Wellness at Home Matters. In this follow up post, we are sharing why a kitchen design with wellness in mind is an essential part of home centered on the wellness of your family. The kitchen is one of the rooms in your home that most impacts your wellness.
The more efficient and functional your kitchen is the more likely you are to enjoy the experience of cooking at home. A Johns Hopkins study says “When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all – even if they are not trying to lose weight,” says Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, a CLF-Lerner Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and lead author of the study.
The findings also suggest that those who frequently cooked at home – six-to-seven nights a week – also consumed fewer calories on the occasions when they ate out.
To entice you to cook at home more frequently a visually pleasing kitchen that is planned well is essential. If you are remodeling a kitchen it is a prime time to create the kitchen you want and will want to spend time in.
This can look different ways to different people but a welcoming and easy to use kitchen is a must.
One of the top strategies you can use to design a kitchen with wellness in mind is to design in multiple workstations. Multiple workstations reduce stress and gets the entire family or friends involved in cooking.
A study from 2012 in Alberta Canada shows that children who help with cooking at home show a greater preference for fruits and vegetables and better understand making healthy food choices. And according to a CBS news report from 2014 kids who get involved in cooking through a class or at home, not only eat more fruits and vegetables but are more willing to try new foods.
When you can assign multiple people to help with cooking meal prep also takes less time making cooking at home more possible for today’s busy lifestyle. We are all more likely to do something if it is easy takes less time. The added benefit is you have time to chat with your family while you cook. This extends the family dinner time to bond by at least 20 minutes and increases connection and emotional health.
Adding a prep sink as one of your workstations will have a positive affect as well. Having two sinks naturally creates a food prep area and a clean-up sink. This has health benefits of not spreading germs from used tools as they can be moved from the prep sink to the clean-up sink immediately. In addition, keeping traffic paths in the kitchen clear reduces stress levels.
Access to views of nature and natural light
Connection to nature improves our wellbeing so views of a garden, the sky or a green space of some kind increase your well-being when spending time in the kitchen.
Garden access to an outdoor eating area is a bonus! Eating in nature is good for us both physically and emotionally.
Natural light is a mood booster and increases your enjoyment of being in the kitchen. In addition, exposure to enough natural light can help you get up to 45 minutes of additional sleep each night according to a study by Northwestern University that compared office workers with access to natural light and those without.
Including windows and doors with nature views and/or sky lights is an important factor when planning a kitchen focused on wellness.
Limit noise pollution
Imagine trying to work in an office where a fire alarm is blaring. Would you be able to focus or work productively?
Being exposed to loud noise on a regular basis is bad for our physical and mental health. Some consequences are feeling stress, poor moods, and physical symptoms like higher blood pressure and ear damage.
The kitchen can be a source of much noise pollution in a home. Especially, today when open space plans are so popular.
The noise from blenders, dishwashers, cooktop hoods and water in the kitchen can create distractions and stress for not only those cooking but other people in the home.
When you design a kitchen with wellness in mind think about the noise that appliances create and look for quiet options for appliances and sinks and other surfaces with sound-deadening properties.
Asking about the sound appliances makes when you are making selections will be the key to success. Often we assume that others hold the same priorities we do but they may not. Talk through your goal of having a wellness kitchen and each key idea that is important with the designer, sales person or builder you are working with they may not know to look for attributes that are attractive to you.
Prevent Visual Noise
Seeing clutter affect us. And there is no better place for clutter to accumulate than kitchen counters and open shelves in kitchens.
Keeping the counters clear is important. A common culprit is stacking the back of your counter with small appliances. Toasters, blenders and coffee makers are essential tools in the kitchen, but it isn’t essential to see them. Consider designing with appliance garages to keep the clutter behind closed doors.
Open shelving has become more popular in recent years but only works when it is well-ordered with visually pleasing items. If you stack it with a random, disorderly array of dishes the scene is likely to raise your stress level.
Keep it social
Beyond the benefits of multiple workstations creating a social atmosphere in the kitchen you should use other tactics to design your kitchen to support social connection.
Social areas should be near enough for non-cooks to chat with the cooks but be out of the work triangle. Here we used an area in a bay window that wasn’t being used to create a window seat where the cook in this home reports her elderly mother and other guests like to perch and talk with her as she prepares a meal. The bonus is they are not in the work are of the kitchen.
Also consider including places to eat, tables, island or banquette seating that allows diners to face each other and converse instead of sitting shoulder to shoulder.
In some kitchen, there may be space for another small seating area where a game or cup of tea can be enjoyed.