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Set Up Your Kitchen for Weight Loss Success

October 17, 2023
Set Up Your Kitchen for Weight Loss Success

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In this article:

  • Your kitchen can have a lot of influence on your weight loss and health.
  • Keep a clean, organized kitchen to support your efforts to eat well.
  • Stock up on healthy foods so you always have a healthy option when you’re hungry.
  • Prepare healthy snacks and meals and put them front and center so when it is time to eat, it’s easy to choose healthy foods rather than low-nutrient ones.
  • Lark offers a friendly and encouraging program that can help you choose nutritious foods and achieve health and weight goals 24/7 when you use the app.

Your kitchen can have a major impact on your eating habits. Is your kitchen helping you reach your weight loss and health goals, or is it interfering with your progress? Here are some ways to set up your kitchen for healthy eating and weight loss success.

Stocking Up on Healthy Foods

If you want to be able to eat healthy in your own kitchen, you need to have healthy foods on hand. That means having nutritious options from a variety of food groups.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans list several examples, including the following.

  • Vegetables, including red, orange, yellow, green, and other non-starchy vegetables, as well as starchy vegetables
  • Whole grains, such as whole-grain bread and pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, whole-wheat crackers, and quinoa
  • Fruit, such as fresh or unsweetened frozen fruit
  • High-protein foods, such as lean ground turkey, skinless chicken, egg whites, tofu, beans, meatless alternatives, seafood, and reduced-fat dairy products
  • Healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocados, and vegetable oils
  • Ground, instant, or whole bean coffee and tea bags

Dried herbs and spices, low-sodium bouillon, and cooking spray are pantry staples that can help you prepare a full range of meals and snacks. For baking, whole-wheat flour or almond flour, and fat substitutes such as low-fat sour cream, may help keep you on target.

Encourage Water without Snacks

It’s great to drink water because it can help with weight loss. Does your kitchen encourage proper hydration? Here are some tips.

  • Keep a full bottle or pitcher of water in the fridge if you like cold water.
  • Make sure your water is at the front of the fridge or visible on the counter so you see it when you open the fridge or enter the kitchen.

There’s another concern with frequent trips to the kitchen to drink water: what happens when you start eating snacks that you hadn’t planned? When you go to the kitchen to get a drink, you’re more likely to also have a bite to eat if you see some food. For that reason, it’s best to keep your water away from food whenever possible so you don’t have to push food aside to get to your water. Ideally, you won’t even have to look at tempting food when you get your water.

Encourage Healthy Foods

If you want to encourage yourself to eat healthy foods, make them attractive by choosing nutritious options that you enjoy eating. Also, make them visible by putting them on the counter or at the front of the pantry, fridge, or freezer. The idea is for healthy foods to catch your eye before unhealthy ones do.

Tips to have ready-to-eat foods:

  • Wash and cut vegetables or purchase ready-to-eat ones, such as baby carrots, snow or sugar snap peas, or mini bell peppers.
  • Place whole fruit on the counter or put cut fruit in the fridge.
  • Boil eggs so they’re ready to be eaten.
  • Low-fat string cheese, single-serve yogurts, and skinless chicken breast that you’ve cooked and cut up are all good sources of protein.
  • Whole-grain cereal, nuts, and whole-grain crackers that you’ve pre-portioned into single servings are good items for the pantry.
  • Peanut butter, hummus, or mashed avocado are quick choices to pair with vegetables.

Put Up Barriers

What happens when you see the cookie jar on the counter, potato chips in the pantry, ice cream in the freezer, and leftover pizza in the fridge? You’re a lot more likely to remember, want, and eat those foods than if you hadn’t seen them.

Follow the “out of sight, out of mind” principle. If junk food needs to be in the house - say, your significant other demands certain types of food or insists on bringing back leftovers from fast food restaurants - put it in a place you won’t see it. Somewhere up high, down low, in dark containers, or behind other items in the pantry or fridge are good options.

As you’re making it easier to eat healthy foods by making them visible and preparing them ahead of time, you can also put up barriers to eating unhealthy foods. Here are some ways you can put up physical barriers.

  • Put an extra layer of plastic wrap around foods you don’t want to eat, such as leftovers.

Make 100-calorie packs out of nuts, cereal, or other foods that come in multi-serving packages. Having a pre-portioned amount can remind you that that’s all you intended to eat.

  • Add tape, rubber bands, or extra clips to make it harder to open containers or bags of chips, cookies, or other high-calorie snack foods.
  • Even the smallest-seeming obstacle can help by making you think again before the food goes into your mouth.

    Clean Environment for Clean Eating

    Setting up your kitchen for your success isn’t just about food. A cluttered kitchen may take your attention away from what you are eating and possibly lead to poor food choices or mindless munching. An organized kitchen that is clean can help you stay focused on your goals. Clearing the counters and keeping kitchen utensils clean and in their proper places can help.

    Kitchen Tools for Success

     Meals and snacks that you prepare at home tend to be lower in calories and higher in certain nutrients than foods prepared away from home, but how can you eat at home if you don’t have the right tools to prepare food?

    Here are some examples of kitchen tools for success.

    • A set of sharp knives in various sizes
    • Pans, pots, and microwave containers for cooking
    • A water pitcher if you don’t drink bottled water
    • A water filter on your sink or pitcher if you don’t like the taste of tap water
    • Air-tight, leak-proof containers so you can store leftovers. This is especially helpful for letting you feel like you don’t have to clean your plate; instead, just store the extras in a container and there won’t be food waste.

    Turn Your Kitchen into Your Cheerleader

    Certain messages on your fridge can help you stick to your healthy intentions. Here are examples of some reminders that you can post on your fridge that can help you stop and think before you eat.

    • “How hungry are you on a scale from 1-10?”
    • “Can you wait 5 minutes?”
    • “Are you hungry or bored?”

    You can also post motivational notes. Here are some examples.

    • “Remember your goals!”
    • “Make a choice you’ll be proud of!”
    • “Log your food first!”

    Seeing these messages before you open the fridge can help sway you so you make a choice that will make you proud.

    How Lark Can Help

    Setting up your kitchen can help you set yourself up for success with weight control and health management. Lark can help you choose nutritious foods and track what you eat. Your personal Lark coach is available 24/7 to help you reach your goals through small changes in your daily life. Lark can help you turn lifestyle choices around eating, being active, and managing stress, into healthy habits for long-term success.

    Click here to see if you may be eligible to join Lark today!

    About Lark

    Lark helps you eat better, move more, stress less, and improve your overall wellness. Lark’s digital coach is available 24/7 on your smartphone to give you personalized tips, recommendations, and motivation to lose weight and prevent chronic conditions like diabetes.

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