Kitchen Organization 101
Make your kitchen work for you
Humans are naturally inclined toward a see-food diet: If we see food, we want to eat it. If you open your kitchen cabinets and find yourself staring at warehouse-size snack foods, chances are those are the items you’ll reach for when you’re hungry. Instead, make the healthiest choices the easiest choices by putting portioned, healthy foods front and center.
- Wrap treats in opaque packaging. Put brownies in aluminum foil, macaroni salad in colored plastic containers. Keep healthier leftovers and foods in clear plastic containers, so your eye falls on them first.
- Move fruits and vegetables out of drawers. Put them as close to eye level as you can (and stash sugary beverages in those bins).
- Pre-cut foods. Cut up that watermelon or those carrots as soon as you get them home from the market, so they’re easy to reach for as a box of crackers when hunger strikes. (Pressed for time? Splurge on pre-cut produce.)
- Mark packages with the SmartPoints® value per serving. That’s right: Grab a marker. Quick visual cues remind you instantly how a food will impact your daily budget. You’ll always know exactly what you’re about to eat.
- Stash trigger foods high or low. If sugary, fatty snacks are out of sight, they are more likely to be off your mind.
- Pre-portion. Research has shown time and time again that people may eat more food when it's served in larger containers. So get out your measuring scoops and spoons and zipper bags, then dole out single servings of pretzels, cereal, nuts and any other edible you buy in bulk. (Write the SmartPoints value on the zipper bag.) Try this idea and you’ll never catch yourself eating handfuls straight from the package again.
- Stock up on high-flavor spices. Herbs and spices deliver big flavor with 0 SmartPoints values, allowing you to use less butter and oil in your favorite dishes. But keep them up to date: If those dried flavor boosters are more than six months old, they might taste like sawdust. Toss those outdated jars, and date their replacements with a marker. Your taste buds will thank you.
- Do one last “trigger-spot” audit. Think Remove, Replace, Rearrange. For anything you simply can’t have in the house, throw it out or take it to work to put in the break room. Replace it with a healthy equivalent — fruit for snack bars, light dressing for full-fat, Weight Watchers ice-cream treats for the premium stuff. If you need to keep the tempting items in the house to avoid a family mutiny, then just rearrange your cupboards so you can’t see, or reach, them.
- Beware the television. If you’ve got easily available snacks, a nice place to sit and a TV on, then it’s all too easy to slip into mindless eating habits. Consider removing the kitchen TV, or at least rearranging your seating so you’re not just sitting and watching it.