It’s Spring! “Lighten” Up Your Kitchen for a Lighter You!

Joyce Kavaras, RD, LD

Joyce Kavaras, RD, LD

May 14, 2014

When the weather finally warms up here in NE Ohio, we are more than ready to switch out our parkas and boots for shorts and sandals. We get inspired to clean out closets and vacuum away dust and cobwebs that have collected over the long winter months. This year, why not stretch that cleaning theme a bit and rid your house of foods and beverages that weigh you down – literally? I’m talking about the calorie-laden, highly-processed items that contain excessive sugar and fat and very little else. Sprucing up your kitchen will take on a whole new meaning and improve your health.

First, let’s bring in a bit of the science on why this is a good idea. A recent study showed that having healthier items readily available and within easy reach can lead to greater consumption of the nutritious foods (fruits and veggies). This even held true when a healthier item was paired with a less-healthy item (buttered popcorn) that required slightly more effort to reach. Similar research by Brian Wansink out of Cornell University demonstrated that the closer and more visible a food, the more you will eat. How can we make this principle work to our advantage for better weight management? You can makeover your kitchen to make eating healthier the easiest choice! Read the tips below to get started…

Kitchen Re-Do:

  1. In the cupboard, take out of all the sugar and fat-laden “empty-calorie” foods and drinks – that includes pop-tarts, candies, pastries, sodas, energy bars and drinks, sugary cereals, chips and dips. If you run across something you absolutely cannot part with – Double-Stuf Oreos perhaps? – move them to the back of the cupboard out of site.
    • Re-stock with low-sodium beans and canned vegetables, fruits packed in their own juices and unsweetened applesauce, whole grain pastas and grains, whole grain cereals and energy bars with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving, naturally-flavored beverages and drinks such as La Croix, Hint, or Polar seltzer waters, whole grain crackers and baked chips.

  2. In the fridge, toss out sugary juice drinks, sour cream, whole-fat cheeses and processed cheese, fatty luncheon meats, cheesy dips and sauces, creamy salad and slaw dressings, full fat milk and yogurt.
    • Re-stock with unsweetened tea and fruit-infused waters, part-skim and low fat cheeses, turkey off the bone, lean ham and roast beef, egg whites, hummus and salsa, reduced-fat oil and vinegar-based salad dressings, skim or 1% milk, and low-fat plain Greek yogurt (adding your own fruit or a dash of honey can make this a healthy snack with a lot less sugar than the fruit-flavored varieties).

  3. In the freezer, remove the high-fat and processed meats, regular pre-packaged dinners and snack items, pizzas with meat toppings, pizza rolls, pot pies, full-fat ice cream and bars, breaded fish sticks, corn dogs, toaster pastries, croissants, biscuits, as well as any non-whole grain breakfast items and breads.
    • Replenish with lean cuts of beef or pork (loin or sirloin), boneless skinless chicken and turkey breast, veggie-topped pizzas, reduced fat ice cream, 100% fruit bars, un-breaded fish, low-fat beef or turkey hot dogs, whole grain waffles, breads, and rolls.

These tips offer a good starting point for your kitchen spring cleaning. I love the fact that we can be healthier by capitalizing on one of our basic human tendencies which is doing things that require the least amount effort – for once this can be a benefit rather than determent to our health! Get started today, and you’ll have a lighter “spring” in your step by the time summer arrives.

Questions? Comments? Share your thoughts here.

Request an Appointment

Request an appointment with a specialist at University Hospitals.
1-866-UH4-CARE 1-866-844-2273 or use our Online Request Form

Upcoming Sessions of UH OptiWeight

There are no UH OptiWeight sessions at this time.

Need to Refer a Patient?

Click here for Patient Referrals

Browse Services A-Z

Maps and Directions

Click here for directions