On average, kitchens are 50% larger than they were 35 years ago, making them a place where lots of activities happen, such as watching TV or paying bills. According to a recent study, participants who ate while watching TV consumed more food and ate more often--about one extra meal per day.
Move the TV or laptop out of the kitchen, and shift tasks like talking on the phone to the den, where food is out of sight. And between meals, keep the kitchen lights off--it's a subtle sign that says the kitchen is closed.
Your Produce Is Hidden
Eating five servings of fruits and veggies a day can help you lose weight and keep it off—yet produce makes up about a quarter of the food we throw away every day, according to research from the University of Arizona. One reason you forget may be that you're stashing it in the produce drawers, where it's usually out of sight—and out of mind. While the crisper is supposed to keep these foods fresh longer, if you forget to open it often enough, food goes bad before you can eat it.
Buy only a week's worth at a time, and keep it at eye level in the fridge or in a pretty bowl on your kitchen table, suggests Rubino. Some fruits and veggies actually taste better and stay fresher longer at room temperature, including oranges, grapefruit, mangoes, and tomatoes, according to produce specialists at the University of California Davis.
You Serve Food Family Style
When heaping bowls of food are in front of you, you're much more likely to scoop another helping than if you have to cross the room to get to the extras, says Young. It's also harder to keep track of calories: In one study, people guessed they had one or two servings during a family-style dinner, when in fact many of them had taken up to four.
Plate your main dish, such as meat and rice or pasta, at the stove, and store the leftovers—you're less likely to automatically go for seconds if the food isn't easily accessible, says Tribole. But do keep serving bowls of salad and vegetables on the table during dinner—most of us don't get enough servings a day, and having these low-calorie options at arm's reach may encourage a second or third helping.
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