5 Top Tips for a Healthier Kitchen…and a Healthier You! By Shannon Crocker RD www.shannoncrocker.ca/ @shancrockerRD Did you know? Your kitchen environment can dictate what, and how much, you eat. For example, a counter cluttered with munchies will mean you eat more. That’s right, studies show that if you have treat-type foods within reach, you’ll eat more of them. The good news is, small changes to your kitchen set-up can help you to eat better. Here are my 5 top tips for refreshing your kitchen-eating environment so that the healthy choice is the easy choice: Keep good-for-you snacks within reach. Keep fresh fruit, cut up veggies, hard-boiled eggs, cheese and cottage cheese at the front of the fridge. Store snacks like nuts and seeds, roasted chickpeas and whole grain crackers at eye-level in the cupboard. Seeing the healthiest choices before everything else will nudge you to make the better choice. I keep individual containers of Nordica Smooth Cottage Cheese in clear view in the fridge so my kids can grab a quick afterschool snack. Clear off the kitchen counter. Move all foods, even nutritious ones like nuts or whole grain cereal, into the cupboards to help you avoid mindless munching. My one exception is a bowl of fresh fruit. Each morning I put out a fresh fruit bowl so that having a piece of fruit for a snack is super simple. Put less-than-healthy choices out of sight. Move less nutritious, treat-type foods, like cookies or chips, to the back of the cupboard where you can’t see them. Out of sight, out of mind. It works! Downsize your dinner plate. Studies show that big plates equal bigger portions. Makes sense, doesn’t it? In fact, smaller plates help you feel like you’ve eaten more, even when you haven’t, so that you feel satisfied with smaller servings. That helps reduce over-eating. Next time you have dinner, choose a lunch-sized plate to keep portions realistic. Add a pitcher of citrus-infused water to your fridge. When you reach for a cold drink, you’ll see water – the best sugar-free choice for quenching thirst. It’s a visual cue to make water your choice over sugary drinks like iced tea or pop (of course, keeping these sugary drinks out of the house altogether is an even better option). Adding citrus wedges, like lemon or lime, or my favourite – grapefruit –, adds a hint of fresh flavour that makes you want to drink more. Now it’s your turn! Take a look around your kitchen. What can you do to make the healthy choice the easy choice? Make a simple change: set yourself up for success!