Your kitchen is a powerful place. It houses all of the food that you will eat, or that may tempt you. In your kitchen you will develop good eating habits conducive to good health, or just the opposite (like mindlessly eating handfuls of cereal out of the box in front of the cupboard). A new study published in Health Education and Behavior has found just how important this environment, and the eating cues it provides, impacts your health. According to the study, higher visibility and easier access to unhealthy foods correlated to a higher BMI in a sample of over 500 individuals.1
How can you immediately improve your kitchen environment to help yourself succeed?
Make healthy foods visible:
Clear kitchen counters of any high calorie or unhealthy snacks and replace with fresh fruits. The more visible the food the more likely you are to eat it.2 Additionally, place unhealthy snacks in a closed cupboard (preferably in the back) so that it’s not in plain sight. It’s very easy to grab a handful of crackers, cereal, candy, etc. on your way through the kitchen when it’s conveniently on the counter, but you will be less likely to do so if you have to search for it.
Buy unhealthy snacks in smaller packages:
There is a relationship between package size and volume of consumption3—The bigger the package, the more you consume. This is the same reason why using smaller plates leads to decreased calorie consumption. Bigger packages alter your perception of what a portion size should be.
Imagine eating ten pieces of candy when it only comes in a package of ten, compared to eating ten pieces in a package of 100. You will notice the impact of the former much more (because all of the candy will be gone) compared to the latter, where you make only a small dent in the amount left over. Additionally, culturally we are conditioned to finish whatever food is put in front of us (think the “clean plate club” as a child). This need to finish everything on the plate remains regardless of the amount. By making less food available (in the form of smaller packages or dishes) you can set yourself up to consume less.
These two tips are incredibly easy to put to use, and as the title suggests you will be able to mindlessly reduce the amount of calories you are consuming.