The Wellness Kitchen and You
The pandemic and a desire for our home to be a safe and healthy space has brought the concept of the wellness kitchen to everyone’s attention. We’re spending more time at home and have an increased concern with our health. Homeowners want to know what can be done to make their kitchens more in tune with physical and mental health and well-being.
What Goes into the Wellness Kitchen?
Some key elements essential to the wellness kitchen have developed as the trend continues to evolve. The wellness kitchen will include some or all of the following.
1. The Social Kitchen
An important part of a wellness kitchen design is the social factor. You’ll want a kitchen that makes it possible for several people to work and socialize together. Being with family and cooking together is a basic human trait that goes back to when the tribe gathered around the fire. Social bonds are part of overall health and well-being. And beside that, it’s fun to cook and eat with others.
A large island is the perfect centerpiece of the social kitchen. It will have room for food prep, room for standing and moving around, and room to sit and converse.
2. Bring the Outdoors In
Besides being with others, another basic human need is a connection to nature. Thus, the wellness kitchen will bring the outdoors inside. There’s even a term for incorporating nature and natural materials into design: Biophilia. And it’s a huge part of wellness design. Plant walls and growing plants, skylights and large windows that let the sun shine in connect kitchens with nature.
However, bringing nature in doesn’t have to be just about house plants. Materials found in nature, such as wood and stone, are environmentally friendly and further the connection to nature.
Using nature-inspired colors also promote calm and wellness. This article in BH&G details how to bring Mother Nature’s color palette into your remodeled wellness kitchen.
Removing clutter from countertops and work areas has a proven therapeutic effect. Being able to find things when you need them reduces stress, a big step towards wellness. Simplicity and a sense of order soothes your eyes and brain.
To keep clutter under control and out of sight, your wellness kitchen should include lots of in-cabinet storage to get your “stuff” off countertops and into cabinets. An appliance garage, in-drawer storage, storage solutions for corner cabinets – all important components in the simplified wellness kitchen.
4. Kitchen Garden
To take the idea of bringing the outdoors in one step farther, your wellness kitchen can include a kitchen garden. Growing some of your own food accomplishes several things, all of them good:
- Encourages healthy eating
- Adds oxygen to the air
- Reduces dependence on grocery stores
- Brings a sense of accomplishment
- Eliminates buying small amounts of herbs in expensive, un-recyclable plastic boxes
Thanks to the increased interest in wellness, it’s easy to discover options for indoor gardens. LED lights and times make it easy to grow an indoor garden.
The benefits to composting range from reducing landfill waste to keeping the soil in a home garden healthy, so it is ideal for a wellness kitchen.
Today’s composting isn’t the same as your grandma’s smelly bucket under the sink. Innovative compost bins hide food waste without adding smell or fruit flies to your kitchen.
Manufacturers of cabinet storage accessories have included composting and recycling in their line of waste products.
If you’re new to composting, you can start small with a stainless steel compost container from Target.
Ergonomics, aging-in-place principles and universal design let people focus on the important things in life, such as the enjoyment of family and friends. Incorporating living-in-place standards can help to create more comfortable, functional, healthy and safe spaces.
Safety plays a huge part in a wellness kitchen. Wellness is improved when the ages, heights and abilities of all family members are taken into consideration during the planning process. Here’s a few starting points. Your kitchen designer will have more suggestions.
- Non-skid floors
- Dishwasher height raised so the top and bottom racks are at a comfortable height
- Different seating heights at the island to accommodate all family members
- Deep drawers organized so that contents can be accessed easily and moved efficiently
7. Non-toxic Materials
The wellness kitchen evolved from the “green” movement of the early ’00s. Therefore, it’s not surprising that cabinetry, paint and other materials with few or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other noxious chemicals are a “must have” for the your wellness kitchen.
Enlarging existing windows and adding new windows and skylights brings in natural light, which has proven health benefits. It:
- Increases productivity
- Improves moods
- Conserves energy
- Helps indoor gardens thrive
- Boosts physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing
To add to the natural light in a wellness kitchen, use LEDs. LED lighting is long lasting and energy friendly. Beyond that, LED lights can minimize seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is definitely not healthy.
The wellness kitchen should have an air purification system that removes pollutants and provides clean indoor air quality. A radon detector will warn about unsafe levels of that major lung cancer risk, a carbon monoxide detector and working smoke alarms are all part of a wellness focused kitchen.
Today’s cooking appliances now offer healthier food prep options, such as steam ovens, sous vide and air fryers. Dishwashers have high temperature sanitizing cycles. And no-touch faucets help prevent the spread of germs from dirty hands.
11. Bacteria-fighting Surfaces
12. Minimize Waste
A typical kitchen is filled with food wrapped in disposal packaging. Kitchens designed for wellness would emphasize fresh ingredients that minimize waste and encourage recycling.
The Wellness Kitchen Focuses on Fresh Food, Little Packaging
In a wellness kitchen, food storage, preparation, cooking and disposal are all about fresh food and organic ingredients. People who are interested in wellness eat a fresh fruit and vegetable rich diet. Their food is minimally processed, chemical- and preservative-free and locally sourced.
In a conventional kitchen, refrigerators, cabinets and pantries are designed to store pre-packaged foods and grocery items wrapped in paper, plastic and aluminum. This packaging can leech into the food. As if that’s not bad enough, it goes directly into landfills.
In a wellness kitchen, fresh produce from local farms and home gardens have no packaging that goes into landfills. And no packaging means no harmful toxins in your food.
But fresh ingredients need to be stored so that freshness and nutritional value are maintained. Dark and cool storage for root vegetables and apples allows them to last.
Everyone is concerned about COVID and staying healthy. We’re also spending more time in our homes, working from home and doing on-line learning. So it’s not surprising that when it comes time for a kitchen remodel, the wellness kitchen is becoming more and more popular.
People getting ready to remodel want a kitchen that’s beyond functional, one that makes it easier for them to follow a lifestyle that incorporates healthy eating and fosters a commitment to eco-friendliness and healthy living.
KDP exists to offer insight and advice about all things related to kitchen remodeling. Our goal is to connect homeowners with talented, experienced kitchen designers who live and work in their communities. We are a serious resource for anyone preparing to remodel their kitchen so they can make the best possible choices about designers, contractors and products.