Whether you’ve just started cooking or have always been an at-home chef, your kitchen serves as the heart of your apartment. It’s also the home base for a healthy lifestyle. With National Nutrition Month in full swing, there’s no time like the present to make simple but substantial changes to enhance your apartment kitchen. Here’s where to start:

Delicious Blends

Don’t underestimate the power of a blender. If you’ve owned one for years or just bought a brand-new Vitamix, you’re probably not using it to its highest potential. In addition to creating nutritious smoothies that make it easier to get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables, blenders can be used to create soups, sauces, batters and dips. Although there are high-end blenders on the market, a bigger price tag doesn't always mean a better product.

Morgan Asbill, a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) in Dallas, said, “Keep in mind you don’t have the have the most expensive accessory to get the job done. You don’t need to break the bank to make yourself a healthy smoothie. Simply stock up on some low-fat yogurt, fruit and protein powder for a quick fix when you’re on the go.”

Get started with some super-healthy smoothie recipes from resources such as Prevention.com.

Family gathered around counter with veggiesMindful Eating

A popular trend in mindful eating is choosing smaller tableware, supported by research from the British Medical Journal. Asbill says “it is a way to trick your mind to think you’re eating more than you are.” Replacing your plates, bowls and glasses with smaller counterparts can help decrease your calorie intake by increasing your awareness of portion control.

Man and father in wheelchair in kitchenConvenient Cooking

If you haven’t heard of the Instant Pot®, you’re missing out on one of the best-selling products on Amazon. An all-in-one pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and warmer, this product was designed for “consumers with active, busy, healthy and environmentally conscious lifestyles.” By planning out your meals, you won’t be as tempted to eat out, and you can even try new dishes you may have never thought of making before.

Delish.com offers 55 recipes — from entrees to desserts — that will get you hooked on the latest cooking fad.

Man and woman couple in kitchen cookingOrganizational Success

Having a healthy kitchen has just as much to do with organization as what you are whipping up. One pro tip is to create a quiet place to sit down and have a meal rather than stand or plunk down in front of the TV. This keeps you mindful of what you are consuming and allows for healthier habits.

Asbill suggests that you “purchase frozen fruits and vegetables because they will be faster for preparation and generally have the same nutritional benefits as fresh ones.” She also recommends stocking up on meal bases such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, ready-cook protein options and high-fiber cereals.

It’s also important to store fresh fruit and veggies in the open so you’re more tempted to grab them as a snack rather than the chips and candy you store in your pantry or cupboards that are more easily tempting.   

Sharper Preparation

Quality knives are a key component in any kitchen. Paying more for quality set is a worthwhile investment because a sharper knife gives you more control and therefore a safer chopping experience. Chopped ingredients will stay fresher for a longer period of time thanks to a clean cut because dull knives crush more cells around the cut. This simple adjustment will help you “Go Further with Food” during National Nutrition Month.

However, you don’t need a special designated month to take your nutrition to the next level. Create a sustainable kitchen in your apartment and go green in any season to help you live the lifestyle you have always dreamed about.