New research shows that if you’re finding it hard to lose weight it may not just be because of the food you eat, it could also be your kitchen. In his book Mindless Eating, Brian Wansink shows us how subliminal messages are affecting the choices and quantities of the food we eat.
Here are some of my top tips to make sure your kitchen is setting you up for success, not sabotage:
1. Out of sight out of mind
If you want to have treats on hand it’s important to keep them out of site. A great way to do this is to store them in a non-transparent airtight container, and if they come in a packet, make sure you can’t access them easily by securing them with a bull clip. This creates what we call a ‘barrier to entry’ and stops you from sneaky snacking.
2. Place healthy food on display
The only thing that should be on your bench is a fruit bowl. Research shows that when foods such as chocolate are visible, they may trigger the urge to indulge. That’s why snacks like biscuits, chocolates and muesli should be stored in your cupboard to reduce temptation. Instead, make healthy snacks more accessible and keep pre-cut veggies or fruit in the fridge.
3. Pre-portion out your meals
If you find it hard to resist seconds, portion out your meals in advance. The next time you serve dinner, store your leftovers right away by placing them in plastic containers and popping them in the fridge or freezer.
4. Serve dinner on a smaller plate
Brian Wansink revealed that serving sizes increased by over 20% when meals were served on larger plates. So next time you’re dishing out a meal, choose the smaller plate and reduce the temptation to overeat.
5. Drink from a skinny glass
it might sound hard to believe, but studies show that people poured and consumed a whopping 19% more of their beverage when they drank it from a short, wide glass. Stick to a taller, more slim-lined glass and keep the calories down.
6. Avoid the jumbo packs
You don’t need an expert to tell you that once you open a bag of chips, there’s a good chance you’re going to finish them all. Which is why it’s not surprising that studies show women served with a 170g bag of chips consumed 200kj more than those contained in the average 85g bag. So resist the jumbo-sized bags and go for smaller, portion-controlled sizes.
7. Never eat directly from a packet
The sheer time it takes to serve food can be long enough to switch the conscious mind on and the unconscious mind off. We often get “hand to mouth disease” not realising that it’s OUR hand attached to OUR body shoveling the food in. So take the time to serve your food properly and you might help curb mindless snacking.
Here’s to a healthy kitchen and a healthy body!