By Ria Rueda

Home building, renovations and wellness.  What could they possibly have in common?  It turns out, A LOT.  Your house has a HUGE impact on your health and well-being.  Everything from the materials you choose to build your house with, to the way you lay out your rooms, to the placement of your windows, and even the lighting you install plays a factor in your family’s health, happiness and longevity.  Crazy right?  Well, scientists and doctors have determined that it’s not crazy.  We now have proof that buildings, especially our homes since we spend so much time in them, play a major role in how we feel on a daily basis, how we sleep at night, how we eat, how we exercise, what illnesses we get, and how long we live.

We’re starting with the kitchen because it’s one of the most frequently visited rooms in the house, and often one of the worst designed.  A kitchen should encourage healthy eating and make it easy to prepare healthy meals.  As a super busy parent, my favorite way to prepare healthy meals is to make them ahead of time.  i.e. batch prepping meals!

This may not sound very fun. But if you have a poorly laid out space, the idea of cooking any meal is stressful, never mind cooking multiple meals at once.  But once you adjust the layout of the kitchen, making a whole bunch of food at one time isn’t a hassle.

The trick to designing a kitchen that encourages healthy eating and meal prep is making sure you have multiple work zones.  This means that there are multiple long expanses of counter space, but doesn’t mean you need 20 feet of counter space.  If you have a small kitchen, perhaps at least two areas of three feet to four feet length of counter space.

You also want to be strategic in where you place the counter space.  It is best to have a large area of counter between the sink and the cooktop.  This allows you to easily wash, chop, and cook veggies without having to move too much.  Now, place your second work zone area at least 10 steps away from this area.  You want the second work area to be available for a second person that is helping you cook or for organizing all of your prepared food.  The further you space these two work zones, the less likely you will be in someone else’s (or your own) way.