Dieting is full of “eat this, not that” rules, but can the real secret to shedding the pounds lie with your habits in the kitchen? Adding kitchen decor, moving snacks around and doing a little snack prep can go a long way in helping you eat smarter and live healthier. Use these tips and tricks to lose weight without giving up a single snack!
1. Keep the pantry full and countertops clear. When you get home from work, you might have forgotten about the cookies you picked up at the grocery the night before. But if they’re sitting in a clear cookie jar on your counter, you won’t be able to keep your hand from reaching in an grabbing one (or five). Eliminate this problem by keeping snacks in the pantry. You’ll also be more excited to cook in an uncluttered kitchen!
2. Decorate with fruit. One exception to the “clear countertops” rule is a bowl filled with your favorite colorful fruits. This should be kept visible at all times, making your kitchen look fresh and encouraging you to grab a healthy apple or banana if you’re in need of an afternoon snack.
3. Make your kitchen visually appealing. Splurge on a few accessories for your kitchen to make it a place you actually like to spend time. Add candles to calm you and a radio to keep you company and help you stay on track while cooking. Avoid mounting a TV in the kitchen, though, unless you can hold yourself accountable for staying focused and that you turn it off before dinner is served.
>> Read more: Add Pops of Color to Your Summer Kitchen
4. Prep fruits and veggies. Even if you don’t prep your meals for the week, spend a few extra minutes after your grocery trip washing, cutting and portioning fruits and veggies. Place single servings of a variety of these healthy snacks in clear bags or containers and store them in the fridge, encouraging you to grab these items on the go instead of chips or sweets.
>> Want to learn how to prep all your meals for the week ahead? Click here!
5. Prepackage and portion snacks. If you desperately need chips, pretzels and chocolate in your life, congratulations, you’re normal! But the key to keeping these items in your house and losing weight is portioning them into single servings rather than just grabbing handfuls from a family size bag. Divide the entire bag of salty or sugary snacks into small containers or baggies to store them individually.
6. Rearrange your fridge. Your fridge’s crisper may be meant to keep produce fresh longer, but since these drawers are often opaque, fruits and veggies get ruined because you forget you bought them! Rearrange your fridge to show off those colorful healthy foods and send your biscuits and cookie dough to the crisper. You’ll be amazed at what you crave when you open the refrigerator door. (via Live Science)
7. Prepare a big container of salad. Eating a side salad before your meal can help you feel full and eat less of the main course, but preparing one every night might become more of a hassle than you’re willing to handle. Use a large salad spinner or bowl and store your salad for the week and top each serving with dressing when you’re ready to eat it. (via Popsugar)
8. Rethink your plates and glasses. Eat less without ever realizing it by swapping out your large dinner plates for a smaller size. Drink less soda or tea by using tall, skinny glasses for your beverage. These swaps trick your brain into thinking you’re just as full, even if you consumed less.
9. Put away leftovers before eating. Add one small task to your dinner routine to squash your cravings for extra helpings. Don’t bring pots or serving dishes to the table; fix every person’s plate and put it on the dining table. Before you sit down to eat, put leftovers in single serving containers and place them in the fridge so you won’t be tempted to scoop out seconds!
10. Label leftovers so you don’t eat them early. When you pack your leftovers, label them with a date or mealtime so that you won’t be tempted to touch it. After all, if you eat tomorrow’s lunch, you’ll have to cook something else! This encourages you to snack smart and practice portion control.
11. Eat in your dining room for every meal. If you eat dinner on a tv tray, you may catch the night’s episode Wheel of Fortune, but this begins an unhealthy habit. If you eat while you’re distracted watching television, your brain will associate tv with hunger, causing you to crave popcorn every evening and lead to mindless snacking.
12. Keep snacks in the house, but work to reach them. Diet plans may suggest the opposite, but keeping snacks in your house may still help you lose weight. Studies have confirmed that, when it comes to snacking, out of sight is out of mind. So keep your indulgent snacks in the back of the cabinets or away from you in an opaque jar to have a bite when you need it and forget it when you don’t.