Health & Wellness

Want to eat better? Rearrange your fridge

The first step to changing your diet is rearranging your refrigerator. (Check out 10 more weight-loss success strategies.) How you position your groceries may shape the way you eat. Shelve strategically: Fill your eye-level shelf (or top shelf) with fruits, vegetables and other nutritious snacks. You're 2.7 times more likely to eat healthy food if it's in your line of sight, a Cornell University study says. "That's also why manufacturers pay a premium to have their products at eye level in stores," says Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and marketing at Golden Gate University. Pack smart: A variety of small leftover containers tempt you to eat more than you planned, says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think." Instead, combine leftover entrees and sides so that each container has one meal's worth.

Shop more, buy less: Instead of laying in supplies for the week, hit the supermarket more often and buy only for the next few meals. An overload of choices at home may deplete your willpower, a 2008 Journal of Consumer Psychology study found. "And people tend to reduce consumption when resources are scarce," Yarrow says. Hide the junk: All stocked up on snacks? Now make sure you eat the good ones. In a 2009 Danish study, one in four participants who chose a healthy snack over an unhealthy one later reached for the junk anyway. So place the healthy stuff, like these five protein-packed snacks, front and center, and stash small guilty pleasures out of sight. Smarter storage: Food lasts longer when it's stored properly. Follow these tips from Nils Noren, vice president of culinary and pastry arts at the French Culinary Institute.

1. Set your fridge temp at just above freezing, around 34°F. That's cold enough to slow the growth of bacteria without freezing the food. 2. Put items with short shelf lives in the back. Milk, meat, fish, and eggs last longer in the back because that's where refrigerators are coldest — and that way they'll also be protected from a warm air blast every time you open the door, says Noren. 3. Stash raw proteins on the lowest shelf so no meat juices can drip on other shelves and season your food with pathogens like E. coli and salmonella, says Noren. And wipe down your fridge at least once a week with a disinfecting wipe or a clean cloth dipped in a solution of soap, water, and a little bleach. Your refrigerator isn't the only danger zone — learn how to beat these six everyday infection spreaders.

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