Clean kitchen, clean eats – science says. In fact, the more cluttered our environments, the more likely we are to overeat, a recent study suggests. If you’re aiming to boost your health and shed a few pounds, start with your physical space and set yourself up for success.

Here are a few tricks to help make your kitchen a healthier place:

Show off the good stuff. Use glass containers to store healthy snacks that include vegetables, nuts, brown rice, and dried fruit. When healthy food is displayed more attractively, you’ll be less likely to forage through the cupboards for junk food.

Clear your counters 

Participants who had cereal and soft drinks visible on their counters weighed 20-26 lbs. more than those who didn’t, according to The Syracuse Study. Those who replaced easy-to-grab junk food items with a bowl of fruit weighed 13 lbs. less!

Lose the clutter 

Cluttered kitchens are associated with feelings of stress, which makes it more likely to snack on unhealthy food, a study in the Environmental & Behavior Journal found. For example, participants who were in kitchens that had newspapers on the table, dishes in the sink, and a ringing phone in the background ate twice as many cookies as those whose kitchen was quiet and organized.

Set the mood

Soft music and lighting prompted people to eat 18% less food, thereby indicating that a relaxed environment increases satisfaction and decreases consumption, according to a Cornell University study. So dim the lights, put on some mellow music and you may dig into some leftovers tomorrow.

Avoid the colour red 

Want to eat less? Don’t paint your walls red or eat on red plates because that colour increases appetite, a colour psychology study shows.

Change your dishes

Large plates make portions appear smaller, so you end up serving yourself – and eating – more. Alternatively, small plates makes it appear as though your meal is bigger, so you actually eat less. So put your meals on smaller plates although try and eat a salad from a bigger bowl.

The way we set up our space really does affect the choices we make.

Learn how cleaning your kitchen can help earn you rewards with Manulife Vitality.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily imply endorsement by Manulife.
Vitality is a trademark of Destiny Health Inc., and is used by The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and its affiliates under licence.

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Ruth Klahsen is a passionate artisanal cheesemaker who uses local, top-quality ingredients to produce cheese that’s good for you.

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