While eating healthier is on the to-do list for many, our kitchen can make it harder to eat healthy, and easier to fill ourselves with snacks and junk food. But there are ways to make the home more conducive to better eating. Planning meals in advance can go a long way, but it is also important to plan how the foods you buy go into your kitchen.
Making good food easier to see and access and making unhealthy foods harder is the trick to a healthier eating environment. Here's how you can rearrange your kitchen to encourage healthy eating habits.
1. Clear your counters
Easily visible food provides a constant reminder of its availability, and is likely to be eaten first. So make sure snack foods don't have a prominent place. The last thing you want is a clear cookie jar on the counter.
2. Buy a fruit bowl
It's important to make sure the visible fruits and vegetables are ones that are easy to eat and don't invite flies to sit on them. Store apples, oranges, bananas and as opposed to grapes, pineapples and mangoes.
3. Invest in single-serving containers
When stashing away leftovers, it is best to put them away in meal-size portions, whether for future lunches or dinners. At times, calorie-dense dinner leftovers might make for a more appealing snack than baby carrots, but you may be less likely to dig in if you know it will leave you hungry at lunch the next day. Choosing freezersafe containers will give you even more storage options.
4. Get see-through jars
Follow the school lunch programme recommendations, which limit calorie-dense foods like complex starches, fats and proteins but make fruits and vegetables completely available in whatever quantity people want. Some fruits and vegetables need advance prep and cutting, but once they go into the refrigerator, they should be in clear containers, to remind you of what to grab when you are hungry between meals.
5. Use your freezer more
If you don't have a definite plan for your leftovers, then avoid tossing them in the refrigerator. A freezer allows you to put away food for future use rather than snacking down on leftover lasagna instead of eating an apple. It also allows for better meal planning.
6. Put healthy eats at eye level
Depending on the type of refrigerator you have, you may benefit from some rearranging.
Some refrigerators with a freezer on the bottom have clear vegetable bins at eye level. But if you have a refrigerator where the freezer is at the top, and the vegetable bin is at your knees, then there's a good reason not to keep your veggies in the drawer. Opaque bins keep your healthiest -- and more perishable -- foods hidden. So if you have them, don't put fruits and veggie in the crisper, instead, put them higher up, in a visible spot.
7. Prepare fruits and other snacks in advance
As much as you avoid it, some snacking is bound to happen. So it is worth buying the products that are in little, single packages. It's much easier then to know exactly what you're eating."
But for the frugal, those small packages represent an extra expense, so pick up some small bags and doling out portions of snacks that are healthier.
Some similar prep work can help with snacking before dinner. In addition, have on hand healthier snacks, such as cut veggies, that are already parcelled out.
8. Add non-food accessories to your kitchen
Food prepared at home is almost inevitably healthier than takeout, so it's important that cooking at home is an enjoyable experience.
Keeping kitchen counters free of books, bags and papers so that they can be used to prepare food is a start. Some even keep a television in their cooking space, but you should ensure that it should be kept at a spot when you can't watch from the table.
9. Eat only in the kitchen
When people eat anywhere in the house, other activities they do while eating will often trigger a signal in the brain to start eating.
Many people eat while watching TV, or just start snacking. Confining all eating to the kitchen can put a dent in that, she said.
10. Get smaller plates and taller, narrower glasses
A recent research suggested how we decide what to eat and how to eat depends on the plate and portion size.
Larger plates lead to eating larger portions -- people tend to finish what they put on their plate.
Dish size is a potential aid for people looking to get new dishes, or willing to replace old ones. Have smaller plates. That advice can carry over to glasses, given the number of calories some beverages contain. You'll drink less from a tall glass than a glass that is wider. It also gives the illusion of having more.