You’ve probably heard this joke before, you know the one that goes “I’m on a diet…the see food diet. If I see it, I eat it!” While it may sound funny, the “see food” diet is something that many do suffer from. Research has shown that what is in sight and readily available is often what we consume.
A recent article published in the Journal of Health Education and Behavior reviewed two Cornell studies that discussed how your kitchen scape can affect your weight. The study found that the foods we keep in eyesight on the kitchen countertop are indeed associated with our Body Mass Index (BMI). Those who kept fresh fruit on the counter top tended to have a normal BMI, while those who kept sodas, candy and packaged foods (cookies, chips, crackers) tended to have a higher BMI.
It’s easy to lose control when unhealthy options are most visible, making it harder to maintain your weight. Keeping foods out of sight and in the pantry makes them less accessible, thus less likely that they will be consumed out of boredom (rather than hunger).
Check out our tips below for a kitchen scape that will help you meet your health goals!
On the counter:
- Put package foods (candy, chips, crackers) and sodas in the pantry or cupboard (and close the door!)
- Avoid purchasing large-sized packaged foods
- Place infused water in a clear container on the counter top rather than juice/soda
- Place fresh fruit in a bowl on the counter for easy snacking rather than sweets
In the fridge:
- Fresh Fruit and Vegetable snacks. Place your pre-cut fruits and veggies on a shelf that is eye-level for you and make it one of the first things you look at when opening the door. Keep fresh food snacks (think berries, celery, baby carrots and more) in clear containers – the more visible these healthy snacks are, the more we will eat them!
- Grab and go snacks. These are healthy foods that we can grab quickly if we are in a rush such as Greek yogurt, cheese, hummus dip or natural peanut butter. All of these foods can be easily paired with fresh fruits and vegetables from the top shelf, so place them just under your fruit and vegetable snacks.
- Healthy beverages. Store water, seltzer, unsweet tea and low fat milk on a shelf that is visible, however these do not need to be at eye level.
- Lean Meats. Always store your lean meats on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent cross contamination of other foods. This includes eggs, lean meats, poultry and fish.
- Your own farmer’s market! Use those humidity controlled drawers at the bottom of your fridge to store your fresh vegetables such as salad, broccoli, zucchini and peppers, and fresh fruits such as apples, oranges and melons.
Rearranging the foods in your kitchen is an easy and inexpensive way to promote healthy choices. It also helps maintain a healthy balance, as treats are strategically stored in the kitchen for those occasional indulgences.
– Written by Brittany Chin, RD. Brittany is the Content Marketing Manager at Pure Barre Corporate and is also a Registered Dietitian with her Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management. She received her B.S. in Nutrition Science and Dietetics from Syracuse University and completed her Dietetic Internship at the Medical University of South Carolina. She is currently obtaining her Master’s in Health Communication from Boston University. She loves food, cooking, Pure Barre and of course, social media.