Food

Eating healthy? Here are the best ways to organize your kitchen to stay on track

Sam Kass, chef and NBC News Senior Food Analyst, shares his tips for how to arrange your kitchen so you can set yourself up for success, make better food choices and avoid the junk.

We eat what we see, so start by taking a hard look at your counter, cabinets and fridge. Then it's time to remove the junk—that means sugary drinks and foods that have sugar listed as one of the first two ingredients or unfamiliar words. It's okay to keep a couple of favorites between the cereals, cookies, chips, candies and white bread you have in the house. Keep two favorites and get rid of the rest. Then it's time to get organized.

On the counter

Move the cookies, chips and cereals from your sight line. Place a bowl of fresh fruit, nuts, dried fruit and whole grain bread.

Here's why: The Cornell Food and Brand Lab found that women who kept soft drinks on their counter weighed 24-26 pounds more. Women who kept a box of cereal on the counter, weighed an average 20 pounds more. Cookies, 8 pounds more. And women who had a fruit bowl visible weighed about 13 pounds less than neighbors who didn't.

Top shelf of pantry

Move the cookies, chips, cereals to these areas so you'll have to put effort into eating them.

Bottom shelf of pantry

These are a few staples you should keep in your pantry:

  • Garlic (boosts the immune system, low in calories and rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Manganese)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (fatty acids and antioxidants in it have some powerful health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease)
  • Low-sodium chicken broth (adds flavor in cooking without fat)
  • Beans (least expensive source of protein. High in iron, potassium and zinc)
  • Vinegar for dressing salads (adds flavor without fat)
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In the refrigerator

Make sure your produce is at eye level.

Cut up some celery, cucumbers and carrots, then place them in jars so you see them as soon as you open it.

Have a pitcher available with filtered water.

Here are a few things to keep on hand:

  • Eggs (high in protein and vitamin D)
  • Avocado (heart-healthy fatty acids)
  • Fresh herbs (add flavor and essential oils)
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt (high in protein, great to pair with nuts or fruit for a snack)

One more thing to keep on hand is an easy, heart-healthy snack to eat with your veggies. Check out Kass's easy homemade Hummus recipe below.

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