Setting Up Your Kitchen for Success
Promote a more successful weight loss journey by following these tips and tricks that will help optimize your kitchen to make your goals more achievable!
Your kitchen is a place where you’ll spend a lot of time if you want to lose weight since you’re focusing on eating healthy and well-balanced. So, you’ll want to make sure that your kitchen environment is as welcoming and comfortable as it can be! Knowing what to eat when you’re on a weight loss diet is only half of the job, the other half is knowing how to do it correctly so that your kitchen works with you, not against you. This includes having an organized kitchen, good tools at hand, and knowing where to put different kinds of foods for maximal freshness. You’ll quickly realize that keeping temptations away may be harder than expected, and that’s why we’ve put together a list of tips that you can follow to optimize your kitchen and make your journey smoother and more enjoyable for your goals, as well as help you lead a healthy lifestyle!
Organize your fridge and pantry
The first thing you want to do to have a great weight loss experience in your kitchen is organizing everything! Your fridge and pantry are where you store most of your food, so you need to keep them organized in a way that supports your goals. To do this, you’ll want to make sure that healthier foods are always front and center and the unhealthier snacks (if any) are in the back. It’s hard enough trying to find a quick healthy snack or some nutritious food to cook with if you have to dig through pizza leftovers or bags of chips. By doing this, whenever you open the door to your fridge or your pantry you’ll see the healthy options first, motivating you to eat something nutritious while forgetting about your other not-so-healthy options. And even if you are aware that those treats and snacks are there, in the back or on the top pantry shelf, knowing that you put them there for a reason can be enough for you to stop and grab something healthy instead!
Another good trick for keeping your temptations at bay is choosing the right containers for your foods. Try storing your weight loss friendly foods and leftovers in clear containers, such as glass or clear plastic, and any empty-calorie foods in colored or opaque containers so that you can’t see what’s inside. Doing this while also keeping them at the back will help you forget about them and prioritize healthier foods that you can easily see as soon as you walk into your kitchen and open the fridge. Not everything in your fridge or pantry needs to be 100% healthy, just try to make sure that you keep the healthy stuff where you can see it!
Start meal prepping and planning
Motivation is a big part of a weight loss journey, so make the job easier for your future self by cutting and storing your fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods in containers so that you can easily grab them whenever you want! Keeping your food portioned and ready for when you’re going to cook or just grab a bite will make your journey more pleasant for you. Meal prep is all about making things easier for when the time comes, but you can go one step further and start meal planning to get the most out of your time in the kitchen!
Meal planning is essentially taking some time to write down and plan the foods that you’re going to be eating in the week, or just for the next few days. This will help you manage your time better by knowing what you’ll be eating ahead of time, so you can just get into the kitchen and get it done instead of stopping and thinking before cooking each meal every day. Prepping your foods after you’ve planned all your meals will save you extra time and it will help you stay motivated to eat healthier because you’ve already done half of the work! You can slice your fruits, chop a few veggies, and shred your chicken so that next time you’re cooking you can just grab everything and cook it right away.
Snacking is a healthy habit as long as you know how to limit yourself without overindulging, but we know that sometimes stopping yourself is hard, so try being smart about it! Instead of buying different chips, cookies, or donuts and trying really hard to limit yourself, buy just one of those to keep in your fridge or pantry. Having a variety of snacking options can make you eat more because there are so many options to choose from, so instead of making it harder for yourself when you feel like having a snack, tackle the problem from the root and grab only one when you go to the grocery store next time!
Having said that, sugary or empty-calorie snacks aren’t the only options for you! If you want to make the most out of your weight loss journey, choose healthier snacks instead, such as nuts or fruits. You can mix your favorite nuts with some dried fruit or dark chocolate chips and keep them in small bags so that you can just grab them whenever you need something to snack on! Portioning your snack foods will stop you from overeating and it’s a quick and easy option for when you crave something particularly sweet or salty.
Stock up on herbs and spices
Enhance your kitchen experience by keeping a nice array of different herbs and spices in your spice rack to make your meals much tastier! Having a variety of flavors to play with when cooking will help you stay motivated and not get bored of your meals, keeping you on track with your goals without going out of your way to add unnecessary ingredients that may hinder your progress. Herbs like basil, oregano, cilantro, and parsley are great to use fresh in your foods, while spices such as paprika, cinnamon, ginger, along with some black pepper and pink salt are great to spice up your meals without the added calories! You can also explore different kinds of healthy oils and vinegar to create delicious dressings or to add to your pans when cooking. Make sure that all of these ingredients are organized and visible when you open your pantry so that you’re always aware of what you have and what you can use!
Have useful kitchen tools at hand
Nothing makes cooking easier than having a nice set of utensils and cookware available! Seeing your kitchen fully stocked with helpful tools will motivate you and give you enough confidence to cook a nice meal instead of just grabbing anything from your fridge. It will also make the process much easier, quicker, and even more fun! For starters, make sure that you have a good knife set that’s sharp enough so that you can cut through anything with minimal effort. Keep a variety of pots, pans, and skillets for different kinds of dishes, and even an instant pot or an air fryer to speed things up a little! Other basics include a blender, cutting boards, mixing bowls, and sheet pans.
Additionally, having a good set of measuring cups and spoons along with a food scale will make your weight loss journey much easier. Measuring how much of each ingredient you’ll be using in your meals will help you keep track of how much you’re eating while also keeping you from going overboard!
Use smaller plates and bowls
Another kitchen trick to support your weight loss efforts is keeping smaller plates and bowls at hand. If you’re able to, store your big plates somewhere and only leave the smaller plates in your cupboard to automatically reach for them when you’re about to eat. Our brain tells us to fill the plate we have at hand with food, because leaving an empty space makes us feel deprived, so with smaller plates you’ll eat smaller portions without even having to measure anything! And if you’re still hungry after finishing your food, you can always get up and grab some more, but at least you’re taking an extra step to make sure that you’re controlling your portions and reducing your risk of overeating.
Keep only your fruit bowl on the counter
If you don’t have a fruit bowl yet, what are you waiting for? Put your fresh fruit in a fruit bowl on the counter so that it’s always visible for when you feel like grabbing a quick snack or making a healthy breakfast. Having your fruits on display, besides looking really good in your kitchen, will serve as a low-calorie snack station where you can stop by before even reaching the fridge or opening your pantry. You can fill your fruit bowl with apples, oranges, bananas, and grapes, and even decorate it in a way that looks pleasant, helping you feel more at home in your kitchen.
Keep in mind that yes, having fruit in plain sight can help you limit your food cravings, but this will only work if that’s the only thing you can see! If you leave other snacks on your counter, like having a pastry station or a designated corner for sweets, you’ll most likely grab those instead. So try limiting the space on your countertops for fruits only, and leave the rest free of tempting foods!
Keep your kitchen tidy
After you’ve done everything else to ensure that your daily kitchen experience is as good as it can be for your weight loss goals, the final step is to make sure that you keep your kitchen tidy and organized! Cleaning everything right after you finish cooking and eating will help you feel more satisfied, and it will feel great when you come back to cook something else or grab a quick snack. This is a good way to see the kitchen as your friend instead of a place to do chores, so don’t forget to put everything in its place after you’re finished, wash the dishes, and clean the counters. And to make the whole experience better, from cleaning to cooking, play some music or a podcast! You will enjoy your time more and it won’t feel like work.
By following these simple tips, you’ll be on your way to weight loss success! Remember that your kitchen is a place where you should feel comfortable to be able to achieve your goals, so try your best to make it feel that way by keeping it organized and full of healthy foods. And in order to fully support your weight loss efforts, you should start tracking your macros (carbs, fats, and proteins) and keeping a food journal! That way you’ll know exactly how much of each macronutrient you need to eat daily, as well as how many calories.
You can find out how many macros you should be eating by going to the Fit With Iulia Macro Calculator and answering a few questions about yourself, your lifestyle, and your goals. Alternatively, you could complete a 5-day assessment in which you add everything you eat to the Fit With Iulia app and it’ll calculate your actual macro results based on that. Then you’re free to use the Kitchen feature to start keeping track of your foods! The Kitchen is essentially a food journal where you’ll be able to log the foods that you eat daily from our expansive food library, letting you search foods by macro, their level of healthiness if they’re vegan or vegetarian, and even if they’re lactose or gluten-free. You can use this library to create a meal plan so that you have better control over what you eat in order to really achieve your weight loss goals!