January 7, 2011

5 Quick Kitchen Friendly Fixes For a Successful Diet

Getting into the kitchen to cook from scratch is the best way to make sure you are eating healthy meals, most of the time.

But, if your kitchen is more like a bomb site, you may find you are severely lacking in motivation.

So, here are 5 tricks to help transform your kitchen into a place that actually encourages a healthy diet.

1. Keep the Kitchen Clean
For me this is a must. If the kitchen is untidy, make a rule that no dirty dishes are left in the sink, and the counter tops and table must be kept clean. That way, you can get right into cooking when you get home, so there's less chance you'll feel like slacking off.

2. Make Cool Water Accessible
Research,shows that drinking 16 oz. of water increased metabolic rate by 30 percent, within 10 minutes of eating a meal. These effects can last for 30 to 40 minutes. The study also concluded that drinking 8 glasses of water per day would help the body burn an additional 95 calories.

While this may seem like a relatively small increase, it is significant over time. Also, water has so many additional benefits in the body, so it's worthwhile making an effort on this one.

Drinking more water each day can be as simple as placing a jug of water in your fridge -- just make sure you reach for the water first, before you opt for another substitute.

3. Keep Emergency Meals in the Freezer
Having healthy meals in your freezer is a good fallback plan for those times when you get home late, or you forget to pick something up at the grocery store. And, it helps you to avoid eating unhealthy food, or opting for fastfood.

When you run out of emergency meals, just make an extra batch of your next meal, and freeze the extra.

4. Use a Vegetable Steamer
Sometimes cooking vegetables can feel like a lot of hassle, so anything that helps with this is a bonus. Steaming is the healthiest way to cook vegetables, because it prevents nutrients being lost into the cooking water.

When I'm making brown rice, for example, I put the rice in the bottom of the rice cooker, then add my vegetables to the steamer basket on top after about 20 minutes of cooking.

Other options are steamer baskets which fit over a saucepan of water, or microwave steamers.

5. Get Rid of JunkFood
Ridding your kitchen of the junk will be a huge benefit to your whole family, encouraging everyone to make better choices overall.

If you can't get rid of it completely, try placing healthy snacks, such as nuts, seeds and dried fruits right in the pantry next to the other snacks. That way, each time you reach for a snack, you are forced to make the decision "healthy" or "unhealthy."

Also, keeping a colorful bowl of fresh fruit on your counter top, and some raw vegetables in the fridge is helpful, giving you lots of healthy options to choose from.

What are your tips for making the kitchen more diet-friendly?

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