Redesign Your Kitchen for Healthy Eating
How you choose to organize your kitchen can influence what you eat. Follow these tips from a registered dietitian to set up your kitchen for healthy choices.
Redesign Your Kitchen for Healthy Eating
How you choose to organize your kitchen can help improve your eating habits. As a registered dietitian, I spend a lot of time helping my clients design a kitchen environment that is conducive to healthy eating. Setting up your environment to support your health goals is an important and necessary step towards setting yourself up for success.
Typically, we’re more likely to choose foods that are directly in front of us. A kitchen that is organized with this in mind can nudge us to make healthy choices.
How to Organize Your Kitchen
Here are some of my favorite tips for reorganizing your kitchen that are also simple to implement.
1. Place a fruit bowl on the kitchen counter.
Display apples, pears, oranges or whatever fruit you enjoy most on the kitchen counter. When you are in the mood for a snack, you will be more likely to reach for the fruit because it’s visible. A colorful fruit bowl encourages you to eat more fruit and can help brighten up your kitchen.
2. Keep your fridge well-stocked.
A well-stocked refrigerator helps to keep healthy eating at the top of your mind. Place washed berries in a bowl, cut up vegetables and put them in a clear container, keep fresh salad ingredients in the salad bin and have hummus and other healthy dips readily available. Position the unhealthy foods in an opaque container in the back of the fridge so that they are harder to get to.
3. Make kitchen gadgets and cooking tools easy to find.
You are more likely to use your air fryer, food processor or blender if it is in a place you can access easily. If you must rummage through cluttered cabinets to find your favorite kitchen gadget, you are less likely to use it. I keep my blender and air fryer on the countertop so that I can get to them easily. I’ve found that I rarely end up using the gadgets that are hard for me to get to, even though I like using them.
4. Make measuring cups and spoons easily accessible.
Using measuring cups and spoons on occasion can help you get a handle on what a healthy portion looks like, making it easier to manage your weight. People often underestimate how much food they eat, and the larger the portion, the more difficult it gets to estimate how much we just ate. Because larger portions contain more calories than smaller ones, eating oversized portions is a likely cause of weight gain.
As I discuss in my book Finally Full, Finally Slim, I recommend using measuring tools for foods for which portion is easy to misjudge – like cereal, nuts, olive oil and ice cream. Most people tend to pour more than a 1 cup recommendation of cereal into a bowl, and few people stop after eating a ¼ cup serving of nuts or 2/3 cup of ice cream. Using measuring cups and spoons occasionally makes watching your portions a no-brainer.
Measuring utensils are also helpful when following recipes and cooking your favorite dish. Keep them handy so they are easy to find.
Keep bags of varying sizes around so you can prepare single-serve portions for snack foods like nuts and pretzels. You can also seal leftovers in freezer bags and store them in the refrigerator or freezer for another meal.
5. Organize your pantry.
Keep healthy food front and center so it is easier to get to. Store healthy dried goods like beans, canned tomatoes and other vegetables, nuts, nut butter and whole grain cereals and crackers in a place where you can easily access them. Store the chips and sugar-sweetened cereal in the back of the cupboard. Organizing your pantry this way will make it easier to choose healthy options.
6. Keep the candy dish out of sight.
Do you find yourself nibbling on chocolate candy straight from the glass bowl you left in the living room for your dinner guests? Or do you grab a handful of jellybeans from your office jar? If so, you’re not alone. When food is laying around and easy to grab, we are more likely to indulge. Clients have often told me they eat “just because it’s there.” Placing the candy and other less-healthy foods out of reach will make you less likely to nibble mindlessly on these foods. If you are craving chocolate or candy, eat it with intention. Go to the cabinet, take it out, put it in a bowl, sit down and enjoy it.
7. Take inventory.
Finally, keep a list of healthy foods you are running out of so that when you head to the grocery store you remember to stock up on healthy favorites. You can even get family involved by encouraging children to add healthy foods they like to the list. Before heading to the grocery store, take a photo of the list just in case you forget it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten my list in my kitchen.
Once you redesign your kitchen, you may find that eating healthfully becomes easier.
This article is based on reporting that features expert sources.