How Kitchen Organization Can Help You Reach Your Health Goals
As most of us know, changing our lifestyle to focus on health is a big deal. It usually involves planning ahead, grocery shopping, cooking, communicating with family and friends and finding time to exercise, among other things. It can feel overwhelming at times, but there are ways to make the transition easier. A good place to start is your kitchen and dining environment to set you up for success. Whether you just started your journey to good health or are a seasoned pro, here are some simple actions you can take to help you reach your goals.
Make Tempting Foods Less Visible and Convenient
There’s a lot of truth to the saying “out of sight, out of mind.” Clear your counter of all food, except for vegetables and fruit. If possible, move your pantry outside of your kitchen to make it more inconvenient to grab treat foods. For example, move all of your pantry items to the garage or basement. Relocating tempting foods makes it less likely you will reach for them first. Another idea is to designate your own shelf or cabinet in the kitchen. This way you do not have to fight through everyone’s food to get to yours.
Rearrange Your Fridge and Pantry
Move nutrient-dense items to a shelf that is at eye-level and treats to the back of the fridge and pantry. Move vegetables and fruits from the crisper to the top shelf. The more readily available and visible the nutritious options, the more likely you are to eat them.
Stock Your Kitchen with Items High in Protein, Healthy Fats and Fiber
Not having nutritious foods on hand may cause you to overeat. Stock your fridge and cabinets with protein foods and veggies, such as plain Greek yogurt, eggs, cut up raw veggies, nuts, seeds, sliced deli meat and some fruit. Buy smaller packages of food that you can eat before they go bad, without feeling pressured to overeat.
Make It Easier on Yourself to Cook
Make your pots, pans, cutting boards and other cooking essentials easily accessible. Store your spices on a spice rack or organize them in your cabinet so they are easy to find. Make sure you have good lighting in your kitchen to make it easier to see during preparation.
Shrink Your Serving Utensils and Dishware
Have smaller serving spoons, plates, drinking glasses and bowls on hand. Bigger utensils and dishware can lead to mindless overeating. Smaller utensils and dishware can trick our minds into thinking we are getting more food because it’s easier to fill them to the brim.
Make Your Kitchen Table a Space Where You Want to Eat
Eating in front of the television or computer can lead to mindless eating that makes it harder to tune into satiety levels. Make eating a special, mindful experience by eating at a room table with screens off. The idea is to eat undistracted so you can truly savor your food and avoid overeating. Enjoy the company of your family and friends or sit and enjoy a moment of solitary peace as you eat.
Simple Actions Spark Big Change
Our eating environment plays an important role in our health journey, so take a few moments today to choose a step or two to tackle. By making just a few of these changes, you will help yourself to be more mindful of your food choices, as well as make your kitchen work for YOU.
Julie Shimko is a senior at San Francisco State University's didactic program in dietetics. After earning her RD license, she plans to work with people with prediabetes and diabetes, focusing on diet and behavior change. In her free time, she can be found endurance racing, hiking, volunteering, cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and dog. Connect with her on her blog, Nutrition Revived.