You know that dropping extra kilo’s and maintaining a healthy weight as an adult reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. So, you exercise regularly, and you follow a low-fat diet with just the right amount of calories. Now, there’s an additional strategy—one that enlists your environment in the battle of the bulge.  

“What we bring into our homes and where we put it has tremendous influence on our body weight,” says Michelle Kegler, DrPH, director of the Emory Prevention Research Center at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta and lead author of a new study on home food environments and how they affect both eating behaviors and weight.

It’s intuitive, really: What you bring into your home and what’s readily visible there is what you eat—no matter how determined you are to stick with your diet. For instance, if you buy lots of fruits and vegetables, and keep them on the counter or toward the front of your refrigerator, that’s what you’re likely to snack on. Likewise, if you buy high-fat foods and keep them in plain sight or within easy reach—say, by keeping an Oreo-filled cookie jar on the kitchen counter strictly for your kids—that’s what you’re likely to eat.

It’s a simple idea, but the effect is profound, stresses Kegler. “A key to eating healthfully is definitely to be mindful of the environment you’re creating in your kitchen,” she says. Interested in perhaps “remodeling” your home food environment for further weight-loss success? Brian Wansink, PhD, author of the new book, Slim By Design: Mindless Eating

Solutions for Everyday Life, dishes up these proven kitchen “fixing” tips:  

Make your kitchen less “loungeable.”
That means getting rid of comfy chairs, TVs, desks, your computer—anything that will entice you to hang out in the kitchen. Because the more time you spend there, the more you’ll eat. 

Make tempting foods invisible and inconvenient.
Have open shelving or cabinets with glass doors in your kitchen? Use them to store cookbooks or display your grandmother’s china—anything but food. Store cereal boxes, cookie packages, and bags of chips up high and behind closed doors. And stash leftover desserts and higher fat foods in your refrigerator’s produce bin, so that they’re out of sight when you glance into the fridge. 


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