What if we told you that shedding those last few pesky pounds can be as easy as engaging in a little spring cleaning? Well, it's true—organizing your pantry the right way can make a world of a difference when it comes to scoring some more weight loss wins. Whether you're strategically placing superstar items in the front or tossing out old stuff to free up precious pantry real estate, making these changes can help spruce up your surroundings… and melt pounds! Try your hand at these helpful tricks and then stock your storage area with these 14 Healthiest Foods For Your Pantry for the ultimate kitchen makeover.
Recently picked up some bagged lentils, chickpea pasta, and organic steel-cut oats? Place them front and center in your pantry! Whatever your eye catches first is likely the item you end up reaching for. So, hopefully, you'll grab the good stuff rather than the treats lurking behind them.
If you must buy a bag of chips or a pack of chocolate chip cookies (you know, for the occasional guest…), besure to place it on your pantry's hard-to-reach top shelf for not-so-easy access. Marissa Ciorciari, MS, RD, LD/N, CLT, Functional Nutritionist at Carillon Miami Beach recommends keeping snacks in an enclosed space instead of left out in the open. "Inside, keep items that you feel are tasty and fairly healthy, but ones that don't trigger a 'snack attack' and leave you spiraling out of control. Out of sight, out of mind. If you know it's a trigger food before you buy it, let it be in the store for some time before allowing it rental space again in your kitchen!"
"If you're a coffee drinker, create a 'coffee zone' where all your supplies are within reach of each other," Jennifer Marcus, owner of D'Clutter Design, advises. "Use hooks under a cabinet to hang your mugs right next to your coffee maker, add a decorative container next to the maker with your favorite sweetener." Creating a special space for your java supplies will help you reap some of the amazing things coffee does to your body, like boosting your metabolism, that much quicker!
"Remove food from their boxes and put them in individual, clear, like-size containers. Not only will you gain space, but by using clear containers, you will know when you are running low and need to replenish your stock," Marcus suggests. Noting when you're running low on healthy foods can keep you from succumbing to less-than-wholesome choices when you're hungry. Another tip: If you don't want to forget what's inside of the clear containers, cut the label off the box and tape it on the new jars. This will also help you stick to the serving size and prevent second helpings!
If you've ever color-coded your closet, you're already in on how helpful this simple method is when it comes to finding that deep purple top. So why not color code or alphabetize the spices in your pantry, too? "It really helps! We've definitely struggled more than once to find the right spice and end up buying extra of something we already have," Tone It Up founders Karena Dawn and Katrina Hodgson admit. "Get your spice drawer organized for easy access to all the flavors your food may need—and have fun with it, too. You can choose fun jars and get creative with labels." Not only will you practice your organizational skills, but you'll also be more inclined to boost the flavor factor of your dishes with healthful spices rather than by dousing meals with caloric condiments.
Instead of creating a Ziplock box tower in your pantry, put the plastic baggies to good use by portioning out your snacks to prevent hitting the bottom of the chip bag. Researchers at Cornell University found that people given a bag of 100 Wheat Thins ate 20 percent more than those given four smaller bags of just 25 crackers. So bypass a potential binge by taking a few minutes to portion your snacks out perfectly.
Remember those festive cookie cutters you swore you'd use three Christmases ago? Or great granny's stained tablecloth you felt bad chucking out? Get rid of them! "Simplicity is the highest form of sophistication. So keep everything clean, fresh, modern, and new," says NY Health and Wellness' Fitness Director Lisa Avellino. "When you're inspired with a new color palette, you're more likely to make better healthy choices in the kitchen. When stressed or overstimulated, we tend to rush and just grab anything. So slow down, be discerning, and literally clean house."