When it comes to sticking to a healthy diet, eating the right food is only part of the battle. Success also depends on taking a proactive approach to things such as food storage, prep techniques and the organization of your kitchen. Here, registered dietitian Matthew Kadey reveals savvy pro tips and tricks to keep sneaky snacking saboteurs at bay.
1. Shuffle your fridge
Consuming more vegetables can go a long way toward slashing your risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer. To make veggies top of mind, rearrange your fridge and place resealable bags full of ready-to-go snacks such as red pepper slices and baby carrots at eye level. They'll be a visual cue every time you open the door.
2. Limit temptation
Eating what's easiest to reach (as well as snacking when you lay your eyes on food instead of when you're hungry) can have unhealthy effects. Stash vice foods (such as chips and candies) inside your cupboards and out of sight.
3. Lighten up
Save the mood lighting for date night. Dining in a dark room could lead to eating up to 36 percent more food without a subsequent increase in satiety, says a 2010 U.S. study. A bright space, on the other hand, can boost alertness and encourage more mindful eating
4. Bowl it over
Replace the junk food on your kitchen counters with bowls of hunger-quashing apples or grapes. Research found that people who made a healthy swap like this weighed, on average, 13 pounds less.
5. Serve from the stovetop
For better portion control, keep extra servings of casseroles and spaghetti off the dining table. If people are forced to leave the table for a second helping, they can potentially eat 29 percent less at a meal.
6. Get liquid assets
Drinking water is not only important for hydration but it can also make you feel fuller, which means you're less tempted by the cookie jar. So keep a water bottle or filter in plain view, instead of hiding in the fridge.
7. Downsize your dinnerware
When there's a big gap between the food and the edge of the dinnerware it's on, we tend to pile on more to shrink the gap. A 2012 study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that people served themselves 77 percent more pasta when a larger bowl was served to them instead of a medium-size one.
8. See red
We're likely to practise better portion control when our food is served on red plates and our drinks are poured into glasses with red markings. Since we've learned to associate red with danger—and stop—it can act as a subconscious cue for putting the brakes on overeating.
9. Take counter measures
A messy kitchen can send you in the direction of stress eating, so tidy up that sink full of dishes and the counter overrun with paperwork.
10. Slow your roll
The secret to slimming down could be slowing down, says a 2013 Texas Christian University study. Researchers found that people who ate a meal in 22 minutes consumed 88 fewer calories and felt less hunger afterward than those who cleaned their plates in a mere nine minutes. Pacing yourself helps your body better register when you're full.