The kitchen is more than just a portal to food and meals. It’s the first place many people go to when they come home, the place people migrate to at parties, and the place families come together after a long day. Whether you are on a diet or not, it might be time to take a look around your kitchen and assess whether it is hurting or helping you and your family’s overall health and longevity.

What’s on Your Counter Tops?

What adorns your kitchen counter tops? Maybe a bowl of candies, a basket of breads, bottles of sodas? Or maybe you have a basket of fruit and a banana holder full of ripe bananas. If you answered yes to the latter, great! If you answered yes to the former, it’s time to consider a kitchen makeover.

Out of Sight Out of Mind

Seeing foods, especially sweets, can trick our brains into thinking we are hungry. If you see M&Ms in a bowl on the counter, you instinctively grab for them, despite the fact that you are not necessarily hungry. By removing these temptations from sight, and ideally from the kitchen completely, you will save yourself from consuming wasted calories and processed sugars.

(Most) Canned Goods Are No Good

Do a sweep through your canned goods and get rid of anything that is not an ingredient or side dish. By this I mean; keep your broths, vegetables, fruits, beans, etc. Although, you should check the ingredient list of these foods to make sure they are not loaded with added sugars, syrups or salts.

What is left over? If I were to bet, I would guess some variations of Chef Boyardee and Campbell’s cans made the list. As easy and convenient as a canned dinner can be, they are not doing you any favors health-wise. Meals in cans such as ravioli, spaghetti, and “hearty” soups, are full of preservatives, chemically enhanced ingredients, and have extremely high sodium content. Donate the cans you have in your kitchen, and resist buying them in the future.

Downsize Your Dishware

The average size of a dinner plate in America is between 11 and 13 inches! It has been proven that switching to smaller plates can help aid in weight loss because there is less room for food on the plate, and because the brain sees an empty plate and relates that to a sense of fullness.

Most dishware sets come with two or three different sizes of plates. Try to only use the largest plates as serving dishes, and use the smaller plates for meals. This rule of thumb should also be used for bowls when possible.

Closing Time

Pick a time that works for everyone in your home to “close the kitchen”. If closing time is 8:00pm, then right at 8:00pm the kitchen is cleaned up and all the lights are turned off. This method will help reduce the habit of late night snacking which leads to subtle weight gain over time.

The kitchen is a happy, social place and that doesn’t have to change. By making health conscious choices in your kitchen today, you can start losing weight tomorrow!

Micah Larsen

Micah is a traveling swim coach and personal trainer, depending on the season. She is also currently working on her Master of Science in Athletic Administration and Coaching. Micah loves to live an active lifestyle, whether she is competing in open water swims, running a road race, practicing yoga, or biking with her dogs. The main objective in her career is to... Read More

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