5 Kitchen Hacks to Help You Lose Weight and Stay Healthy
Never underestimate the power of organizing.
Berries, cucumbers, and other produce get easily buried (or smooshed) in your refrigerator’s deep drawer. “When you open it, you only see what’s on top, in front, or at eye level,” says Maureen Guzman, owner of Katy Home Organizer in Katy, Texas. “And people don’t eat what they can’t see.” She recommends using clear plastic bins on fridge shelves to store smaller and more delicate produce; stash bulky produce or even loaves of bread in the deep drawer. And pull some of that fruit out of the fridge: A Cornell study found that women with a visible fruit bowl on the counter weighed about 13 pounds less than those without.
Most American adults fall short of the approximate recommended 2 to 3 1⁄2 cups of vegetables a day. Spices and herbs–think curry, ginger, garlic, and rosemary–can make veggies taste more appealing while reducing the need for sodium and fat when they’re cooked. To keep spices top of mind (and at peak flavor), Nonnahs Driskill, founding organizer of Get Organized Already in Pasadena, California, recommends tossing old and expired seasonings, buying new, bagged spices and herbs (they’re cheaper than bottled ones), and decanting them into clean, labeled jars or containers.
A cluttered kitchen can bring on the munchies: A study published in Environment and Behavior found that women in a messy kitchen ate twice as many cookies as women in the same kitchen when it was organized and quiet. Being in a chaotic space makes you think, “I can’t keep anything straight; why should I even try?” notes Susan Rudnicki, PhD, of Dunwoody, Georgia. Set a timer for 25 minutes–the ideal time for maximizing focus and efficiency–and start cleaning. Not only might it limit stress eating, but a study out of Indiana University found that people with clean houses are more active than those with messy ones, probably because all that scrubbing and sweeping counts as physical exercise.
Make it easier to eat nutritious foods by reserving the easy-to-reach middle shelves for beans, canned veggies, oatmeal, and nuts. Then put “sometimes” foods on a high shelf or in a seldom-used pantry, suggests Driskill. Likewise, keep the spiralizer, blender, vegetable steamer, and sparkling water maker front and center; push the ice cream maker and deep fryer to the back of the cupboard.
Does getting everyone out the door in the morning leave you frenzied, with no time to eat breakfast? An old-fashioned clock can jump- start the day you deserve. “Digital clocks only tell you one time—the present,” explains Leslie Josel, owner of Order Out of Chaos, an organizing company in Westchester, New York. “An analog clock makes you more time-aware; the sweep of the hands shows how much time has elapsed and how much you have left.” Not only will you leave the house less anxious, but better time management might grant you the extra minutes you need for breakfast, which studies have linked with a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.