Use these 5 ways to make your kitchen healthier to create an environment that will set you up for success in living a healthy lifestyle.
I am not a huge fan of tortilla chips. I’d take regular chips over them any day. I never buy them for myself and they just aren’t something I crave. But if I’m at a Mexican restaurant and there is a basket of chips sitting a foot away, chances are, I’m going to eat some – not because I like them, just because they are there.
Of course, it is not the only factor, but our environment can make or break a lot of our healthy choices throughout the day. Willpower and self-control always come into play, but you have a lot of power in creating an environment that will set you up for success.
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1. Prep fresh produce so it’s ready to eat
I also love baby carrots and those mini bell peppers because of the grab-and-go factor. There are all kinds of other fruits and vegetables that I love, but if they are not peeled, cut, and ready to eat, they will just sit untouched. So, as soon as I get home from the grocery store, those things get prepped before they go into the fridge. I’ll cut up jicama, slice bell peppers, wash grapes, and sometimes put them in individual baggies or containers so I can grab them for a healthy snack when I’m in a hurry.
2. Move the junk food out of sight
Out of sight, out of mind doesn’t always work for junk food, but it sure does help to make it more inconvenient! When I keep a bowl of Hershey Hugs on the counter, they disappear in days because I grab one almost every time I walk by. Don’t set ask yourself to say no to temptation every time you walk by the island.
You can always keep them out of the house altogether, but if you’re going to have them around, hide them from yourself. Push the ice cream back into the recesses of your freezer behind the frozen vegetables, put those chips in the cabinet above the refrigerator and behind those ice cube trays to make them harder to reach, and shove those cookies to the back of the top shelf of the pantry.
3. Fill your kitchen with healthier snacks
Snacking is not a forbidden activity, just snack wisely. I love having an afternoon snack especially because it keeps me from feeling starving by dinner time (and then eating way too much and feeling stuffed).
So, surround yourself with healthy choices. Fresh fruit and vegetables are fantastic choices, but you can also keep more shelf-stable options around like nuts, dried fruit, Nature Valley Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Protein Bars, or make some energy bites to keep in the freezer.
Sometimes I keep a list on my fridge of the healthy snacks I have around so I know what my options are because it is far too easy to just walk into the kitchen and wander when I’m hungry. You can also make little snack baskets in your fridge and in your pantry to keep those things so you know exactly where to look when hunger strikes.
4. Divvy large containers into single servings
Snack baggies are one of my most used items because I know how dangerous big bags of food are to me. Whether it’s cereal, chips, or granola, if I take the whole bag to the couch to snack on while I watch TV or read, I will eat way too much. Without even noticing, I can plow through at least 5 servings.
So, just like produce, as soon as I get home from the grocery store, I divide those snacks up into single serving bags to keep me on a healthier path. It not only helps you to be more aware of what one serving actually looks like, but it helps you to be more aware of portion control, even if you do grab two or three bags on occasion (not that I ever do that…ahem).
5. Stock up on healthy staples
One of the life skills my mother ingrained in me was keeping a well-stocked kitchen. When you fill your house with good quality food, you are much more likely to fill your diet with it, as well! Outside of snacking, you want to make sure you have lots of nourishing food to include in your meals.
Keep lots of frozen vegetables, fruit, and lean protein in your freezer. Have eggs and Greek yogurt in your fridge. Fill your pantry with canned beans, nut butters, and lots of dried goods like brown rice, whole grain pasta, white whole wheat flour, oats, nuts, and quinoa.
Set yourself up to make healthier choices and you might even find they are easier than you thought!