Health Tips: Don't Let Your Kitchen Make You Fat

You kitchen could be preventing you from losing weight, check out how.

ByABC News via logo
January 14, 2011, 3:04 PM

Jan. 13, 2011 — -- The kitchen is the heart of your home, but it might also be at the heart of your unwanted weight. Everything from the size of your plates to the wattage of your bulbs has a direct effect on what and how much you eat, according to research in the Annual Reviews of Nutrition. We've got some simple fixes to get the scale moving in the right direction.

Problem: On average, kitchens are 50 percent 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 about one extra meal per day!

The kitchen is also where we toss everything from our keys to the mail, and a messy space makes healthy eating harder. It's a lot easier to grab a few cookies or order a pizza than to unearth a countertop and cook.

Solution: Keep large areas of counter space clear for meal prep, and reserve an area in the kitchen for eating only, designated by place mats.

You'll also want to move the TV or laptop out of the kitchen, and shift tasks like talking on the phone to another room, where food isn't within reach. When you separate eating from other activities, you're more likely to focus on your food and listen to fullness cues. Studies show that when distracted, you'll eat 15 percent more.

Problem: We all love to eat this way, but 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 more.

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.

Solution: Plate your main dish, such as meat and rice or pasta, at the stove, and 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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