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6 Easy Kitchen Organization Hacks to Promote Weight Loss

6 Easy Kitchen Organization Hacks to Promote Weight Loss

If home (or apartment!) is where the heart is, then to me, the kitchen serves as the veins and arteries of the home. Biology analogy aside (I am a scientist after all) your kitchen can be the central place to promote positive health changes. Starting a journey toward weight loss or maintaining a healthful diet can seem daunting, but some of the most important steps toward a healthful approach to weight management or weight loss can start in the kitchen. Whether your kitchen is decked out with fancy gadgets or you have just the bare essentials in a tiny galley kitchen, read on for six simple tricks for making your kitchen work for you:

Switch up your dinnerware.

You may have heard that eating meals from smaller plates and bowls will help you eat less without even realizing it. While partly true, this argument has another interesting side to the story. Turns out people who used a large plate for meals served themselves more vegetables than those using a smaller plate. The takeaway? Using a large plate might be a simple and cheap strategy to increase vegetable consumption, so use dinner plates for your salad and save smaller plates for higher-calorie entrees and desserts.

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Keep cookies and candy on the top shelf.

Let’s face it – some days, a cookie is the only thing that’s going to make us feel better. Studies show that trying to fight food cravings can lead to overeating down the line, so satisfying an urge before it becomes irresistible is healthier than devouring a sleeve of cookies as a midnight snack. Keeping snacks around can help manage your cravings, but to avoid overconsumption, store high-calorie snacks and sweets on the top shelf or in opaque containers. You’ll be able to indulge when you need it, but otherwise out of sight, out of mind can work for you.

Rethink your fridge space.

“Out of sight, out of mind” also works in reverse – if you normally store vegetables in the refrigerator’s bottom drawers, rearrange your fridge to keep lower calorie, high fiber fruits and veggies in plain sight. The next time hunger strikes, you’ll find yourself reaching for salad or an apple instead of leftover pizza. You’ll also cut down on food waste and save your cash from (literally and figuratively) going into the garbage. A win-win situation!

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Plan for portion control.

Put your reusable food containers to good use. Set aside time on the weekend to prepare a big batch of your favorite grain or greens, mix in lean protein like chicken breast, canned tuna, or beans, and take 5 minutes to chop up vegetables for office lunches and snacks. Then, put food in single-serving containers so you’ll be able to grab-and-go during the busy morning rush. Planning ahead will save stress and calories in the long run.

Measure up.

Research has shown that overestimating serving sizes is a common reason that people don’t lose weight. Measuring food can help to keep portion sizes accurate, so keep measuring cups and spoons close by when serving up a meal. (If you have a kitchen scale, this is also a good idea to use.) Chances are it will be an eye-opening experience. You may be shocked to see the true serving size of some of your favorite things like cereal, peanut butter, and even salad dressing. It should only take a few times of visually seeing an appropriate serving size to make this a long-term change. This handy guide of appropriate serving sizes will make it easier to stick to appropriate serving sizes.

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Make the kitchen your happy place.

Creating a calming environment may be the key to de-stressing in the kitchen. Try to keep the countertops clear of clutter and the sink free of dirty dishes to make the kitchen a place where you want to spend time. Special touches like a bowl full of fresh fruit or a vase of farmers’ market flowers can add to the room’s appeal. Preparing a healthy meal can be great therapy at the end of a stressful day – and it beats drowning your worries in a bag of potato chips.

Some of these kitchen hacks only take a few minutes but can really add up to significant health-promoting changes. The hardest question is — which one will you try first?

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Allison Dostal, PhD, RD, Sylvia Rowe fellow of the International Food Information Council, contributed to this piece.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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