Memorial Health - February 18, 2019
by Dr. Robert J. Kelly Jr.

Trying to lose a few pounds is difficult to say the least, but making small changes around your home can encourage weight loss that lasts. One game changer can be switching up your kitchen design, as well as how you store food.

Here are some tips on how to change your environment to inspire healthier eating.

1. Buy Ready-Made Healthy Snacks

Instead of an empty kitchen, a more realistic approach is to store a range of quick, healthy snacks. Try pre-packaged low-fat cheese sticks, nuts, dried fruit, turkey slices or pre-cut vegetables.

2. Keep a Running Grocery List in the Kitchen

To avoid scrambling for last-minute recipes (and coming up empty-handed), figure out what you'll prepare each week in advance. Make a list of your favorite meals and snacks to post on the fridge or keep handy.

3. Enjoying a Treat? Use a Bowl

With high-calorie snacks, measure out one portion. Then, put the remainder away and eat your serving. If you absolutely must have more, serve yourself another portion and put the rest away again. This approach can stop you from mindlessly eating from the container -- and having several servings without realizing it.

4. De-Clutter Your Counters

Clear your counters of everything except a bowl of beautiful, fresh fruit, a cutting board and a blender. Even if your kitchen is tiny, find a way to shove any chips, cookies or cereal boxes into the pantry. Why? Women who stored potato chips on the counter weighed eight pounds more than their neighbors who didn't in a recent study. And women who stored cereal on their counters weighed a grand total of 21 pounds more.

Arrange your pantry shelves so you notice the good foods first because you're less likely to reach for stuff in the back. In fact, you're about three times more likely to eat the first food you see in a pantry than the fifth one you come across.

5. Eat at the Table and Leave Serving Plates in the Kitchen

Establish a routine of having structured, planned meals at the table. But instead of family-style dining, try buffet style. Plate foods in the kitchen from cookware on the stove or serving bowls on the counter. People who did this ate 19 percent less than those who put serving trays directly on the table.

6. Separate Leftovers Before You Eat

Go one step further and separate out leftover portions, storing them before you even sit down to the table. That creates steps between you and the food, as well as extra work. If you want more, you'll have to unpack and reheat it.

Sometimes it takes more than a kitchen makeover, especially when you have a significant amount of weight to lose. Weight-loss surgery may be the answer. Learn more at one of our free monthly information sessions in Bluffton. Visit Memorial Health Bariatric Seminars to register.

Dr. Robert J. Kelly Jr. is a bariatric and minimally invasive surgeon at Memorial Health University Physicians | Surgical & Bariatric Care.