Set up your kitchen like a dietitian

Dietitian Jackie London shares her tips to set up your kitchen for weight-loss success.
Published 1 November 2020 | Updated 1 July 2024

Top takeaways:

  • Keep produce front and centre
  • Declutter shelves and drawers
  • Prep staples ahead of mealtime
  • Keep treats out of sight

What's in a healthy kitchen?

Dietitian Jackie London shares her top tips for maxing out your kitchen. She's not about to suggest a renovation or anything dramatic, but there are some easy ways to set yourself up for healthier, more delicious meals and snacks.

1. Place produce front and centre:

  • Keep whole produce (like bananas, avocados, tomatoes) that need a little ripening out on your kitchen bench. This helps them ripen quicker, but it also helps you keep produce in your sightline, reminding you of all of those amazing new ways you’re going to use them up when they’re ready to be devoured!
  • What else should be in your sightline as much as possible? Water (or any unsweetened beverage!). Stay hydrated by keeping a bottle of your favourite drink on your desk, kitchen bench and next to your bed so you’re reminded to hydrate throughout the day.

2. Declutter shelves and drawers:

  • Toss what you’re not using to make room for what’s new (and what you want to keep at optimal temperatures for food safety and to retain taste and texture!). Store items like leafy greens, lettuce, and anything pre-cut or sliced in those crisper drawers to keep them at their tastiest.
  • Keep meat, seafood, poultry, dairy and eggs in the middle of the fridge toward the back. That’s the coolest part, which will help them stay fresh the longest.
  • The door temperature changes the most… so clear it for condiments, bottles of wine, and anything else you want to keep that’s safe at room temp.

3. Prep staples ahead of mealtime:

  • Set aside a few minutes (or a weekend afternoon!) to prep ingredients you want to eat, and keep those pre-chopped items front and centre in the fridge. Removing some of that overwhelm that comes with meal prep when meal-time is approaching is a real game changer for turning your best laid plans into action!
  • Prep snacks by pre-portioning ahead of time. Snackable staples like popcorn, chips and trailmix are perfect for when you’re on-the-go. Measure a serving; store in a ziplock bag or container, and toss in your bag on your way out the door.

4. Put your leftovers to work:

  • Store veggie-heavy leftovers and ready-to-be-eaten-or-cooked (cut) veg and fruit in clear, air-tight storage containers so they’ll stay in your sightline throughout the week.
  • Eggs can be a household mainstay. Hard boil a bunch to add into other meals you’re making, in sandwiches or as part of a grab-and-go breakfast.
  • Maximise your dairy products like plain Greek yoghurt or cottage cheese for dips or as a part of breakfast, and reduced-fat cheese for toppings, snacks, or as an ingredient in salads and sandwiches.

5. Keep treats in the fridge or freezer:

  • If you’ve ever felt like freshly baked banana bread cooling on top of your kitchen bench is basically calling to you to “eat me!!!” well, you are NOT alone! When you’ve got something irresistible-seeming to you: Eat the serving you like, and store the rest out of sight (aka in your fridge or freezer).

6. Wrap treats in opaque packaging:

  • Put brownies in aluminium foil and pasta salad in coloured plastic containers. Keep healthier leftovers and foods in clear plastic containers, so your eye falls on them first.

7. Pre-cut foods:

  • Cut up that watermelon or those carrots as soon as you get them home from the shops, so they’re easier to reach for than a box of crackers.

8. Stash foods you don’t want to eat high or low:

  • If they’re out of sight, they’re more likely to be off your mind. If you need to keep tempting items in the house to avoid a family mutiny, then just rearrange your cupboards so you can’t see them.

9. Pre-portion:

  • Research shows that people eat more food when it's served in larger containers. So get out your measuring cups and spoons and ziplock bags, then dole out single servings of pretzels, cereal, nuts and any other edible you buy in bulk. (Write the Points value on the ziplock bag.) Try this and you’ll never catch yourself eating handfuls straight from the packet again.