How you set up your kitchen—from décor to utensils to where you keep treats—can make a substantial difference when it comes to losing weight. There’s a reason Google “strategically designed” their campus cafeteria using behavioral economics to “make it easy for people to make healthy choices.”
You don’t need an entire kitchen overhaul to make a difference. Many revamps take just a minute. Here are 9 simple ways to start:
Make It Easy to Reach for Healthy Foods
We tend to eat more of what’s staring us in the face—and a container of M&Ms on your counter will just wear down your willpower until you give in and wolf down a handful. Make healthy snacks like nuts, pre-cut veggies, fruit, and Greek yogurt easy to grab when you’re hungry.
Hide the Junk Food
If you must keep treats in the house, stash them where you don’t see them all the time. Chocolate candies can go in the freezer, for example, and place other candies or unhealthy foods on hard-to-reach shelves.
Stock Your Spice Rack
Spices and herbs are bursting with flavor. That’s why research shows getting creative in the kitchen and adding them to foods (cumin on your carrots, red pepper flakes on Brussels sprouts) can help replace some fat in your cooking—without you even realizing it’s missing.
Buy Bigger Flatware and Smaller Plates
Sounds strange, but a study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that using a big fork may help you eat less, possibly because larger bites provide a visual cue that you’re making progress on your plate (and are getting full). Couple that with a smaller plate and you’ll find that your brain might trick you into feeling full faster on less.
Get Rid of the TV
This one isn’t so much about cooking, but rather keeping the TV in your kitchen. Watching TV and eating is a recipe for mindlessly inhaling allthechips…especially if you’re watching action shows. Time to remove the idiot box from the dining room.
Keep Cookbooks Visible
One of the secrets of slim people is that they cook at home often, says a study from Johns Hopkins University. It’s the best way to control what goes into your food, and it allows you avoid those massive restaurant portions. To encourage the habit, don’t keep your cookbooks hidden in a pantry. Display them on your counter as a reminder to try a new recipe tonight. Not a fan of physical books? Try using Pinterest as a way of visually organizing your recipes.
Decorate With Red
The crimson color is associated with danger—and acts like a mental stop sign for eating. One study found that people ate nearly 50% fewer chocolate chips when they were served on a red plate compared to a blue or white one. Stock up on red plates, but also consider adding flashes of red to your kitchen décor, like a set of red dish towels.
It may be funny to own wine glasses that can nearly hold an entire bottle of wine, but your waistline doesn’t think so. One Cornell University study found that wider glasses provoke oenophiles to pour 12% more alcohol into their glass. Do as the Italians do and pour wine in a 5-ounce juice glass.
You have a pile of pots and pans that practically falls on you when you open the cupboard. Eliminate those you don’t need (particularly old, scratched non-stick pans) and keep the rest tidy. When healthy habits are made easier, we’re more likely to do them—and that includes keeping the tools we need for a nutritious meal organized.