You can eat healthier by transforming your kitchen into a supporting environment. Here’s how you can do it.

A guest blog by Megan Wild.

This time of year, many of us are accepting defeat at the hands of our New Year’s Resolutions. We are far enough into the year that promises of losing 10 pounds, eating healthier food and finally feeling like our best selves are nearly forgotten or ignored.

Sometimes our goals, whether we called them New Year’s Resolutions or not, are too vague to be successful. For example, “eating healthy” and “losing weight” are laudable aims, but without an action plan, we set ourselves up for failure. What is one relatively simple, actionable goal we can set to help achieve a healthier lifestyle? Redesign the kitchen to eat healthier.

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The two-fold keys to losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle are well-known and widely accepted: eating well and exercising regularly. However, following these simple steps in your kitchen can also lead to a healthier lifestyle.

Organize Your Fridge and Pantry

The first step to a healthy kitchen is to know what you are working with. Take your fridge and freezer shelf-by-shelf, tossing expired food and cleaning off the surfaces. Do the same with the pantry — items that are close to their expiration date, or that you know you will never use, can be donated to your local food pantry. Toss expired items.

Decluttering is your first step to eating healthier. A study by Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab shows that that those in a well-organized, clean kitchen are less likely to snack than those who face a cluttered, messy kitchen every day.

This can also be a money-saving tip: Once you’re organized, you won’t buy items that you already had and just couldn’t see in your messy pantry or fridge.

"Healthy people are those who live in healthy homes on a healthy diet." - Ivan Illich

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

I’ll be honest, when I’m hungry and I see food out in the open, I’m practically a goner right then. I’m not even sure if a crash gate could hold me back, and they have some serious steel reinforcement going on. While you probably won’t have to go to such extremes to restrain yourself, the line of thought, similar to installing an actual gate still is, “What can I visually do to deter any problems?”

Perhaps the most effective step you can take to achieve healthy kitchen design is to hide the treats from yourself! If you leave out a bowl of candy or a package of cookies, you’ll probably eat them. If you leave out a bowl of apples, you’ll probably eat them.

Ditch the candy bowl for a fruit bowl and make it the centerpiece of your counter or kitchen table. In fact, a study shows that if you leave a fruit bowl out on your kitchen counter, you’ll weight 13 pounds less than those who don’t. Choose to leave cereal out, and you’ll weigh 20 pounds more than those who don’t. Turns out seeing is believing when it comes to healthy eating.

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Size (of Plates) Does Matter

If you’ve inherited a set of dishes from grandma, you might have noticed that they look small. That’s because the size of the plates from which Americans eat has grown over the years, along with our waistlines. This is bad news for those aiming to eat healthier.

Why? The so-called “Smaller Plate Study” shows that people will serve — and eat — more food on a larger plate. Why not use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate for your main course? You’ll still be a member of the clean plate club without feeling the weight of the extra calories.

Plate Before Serving

While we are talking about plates, another healthy habit is to put the food on your plate before you sit down to the table. Instead of serving your food family-style in large bowls or platters on the table, portioning out the food prior to sitting down will ensure there isn’t a smorgasbord before you to pick off of after you’ve cleaned your plate.

"One should eat to live, not live to eat." - Benjamin Franklin

Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint

If you’ve been itching for a mini-remodel of your kitchen, you can do it in the name of healthy eating. Calming colors like gray and blue have been shown to act as an appetite suppressant. Not interested in painting? You could replace the light bulbs in your kitchen and fridge with blue-tinted bulbs for the same effect.

Why do these colors work? Some say it’s because blue isn’t a color that typically appears in our food, so we have a natural aversion to eating when we see blue.

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Unplug Before You Dig In

Think about the last time you queued up whatever your Netflix binge of the moment is and walked into the kitchen for a snack. A bag of popcorn, a couple of cookies and a soda later, you might not even realize what you’ve eaten because you’ve been focused on House of Cards or Making a Murderer.

Mindless eating is the enemy to healthy living, so turning off the TV, leaving your phone in the living room and banning the iPad at the kitchen table is crucial if you want to eat healthier.

Counting calories and sticking to an exercise regime are weight loss strategies for the most disciplined people. Organizing the pantry and fridge, leaving out fresh snacks like fruit, and ridding your kitchen of distractions are a few easy home furnishing changes. By designing your kitchen to be a space for healthy eating, you can set yourself up for success without having to count a single calorie.

For more holistic home organization tips read also:

How to Design Your Kitchen to Eat Healthier.

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Megan Wild
Megan Wild is a home decor specialist who enjoys eating well and taking care of her body. When she’s not writing up her latest home tips on her blog, Your Wild Home, you can usually find her hiking or biking.