More than half of Americans say they can judge how healthy a family’s lifestyle is by the contents of their refrigerator, and more than a quarter admit that they would eat healthier if they were better organized, according to a new national survey. They’re right to associate the state of their refrigerators with the healthfulness of their eating habits, says celebrity nutritionist and healthy cooking expert Keri Glassman.
“Practicing ‘mindful eating’ can be hindered by a disorganized refrigerator and a cluttered kitchen,” says Glassman. “When you’re preparing and eating meals in an organized environment, you’re more likely to pay attention to what you’re eating and whether it really does nourish your body and mind.”
And while Glassman says refrigerator organization is a first step in leading a healthier life, it’s sometimes easier said than done. In fact, independent consumer research of 1,000 adults, commissioned by kitchen appliance manufacturer LG Electronics shows that more than one-third of American families say fruits and vegetables are the hardest things to keep organized in the fridge.
Glassman offers tips to get more organized in the kitchen for a healthier 2017:
Take control of your refrigerator
“Keeping healthy items in your refrigerator front and center can actually affect the nutrition value of what you’re preparing for your family,” Glassman says. “Today’s refrigerators are making this easier with advanced organization features, like fridges with the new LG InstaView feature that makes it simple to organize your food in a way that puts the most healthful choices in easy view and reach.”
This feature, now available in more than a dozen models in a variety of sizes, styles, finishes and prices, has a tinted glass panel on the right door that illuminates with two quick knocks to allow users to see what’s inside without opening the door. “And when you see healthy choices right in front of you, you’re more likely to choose those first,” notes Glassman.
Additionally, transferring packaged- or bulk-foods into clear glass containers can help keep the fridge looking fresh, and keep your foods fresher longer – which in turn, allows the enticing colors of fresh fruits and veggies to draw your attention.
“A clean fridge with colorful fruits and veggies is key to healthy eating,” Glassman says. “My favorite weekend mornings are spent on color quests at the farmer’s market gathering at least seven different colored fruits and veggies. Not only does the fridge look gorgeous, it inspires fresh cooking and will improve your eating habits!”
Declutter your kitchen
Kitchen counters often become the repository for lots of clutter, from kitchen electronics and small appliances, to car keys and the mail. The clutter takes away valuable cooking space and can affect how healthfully you eat.
“Keep a clear counter,” Glassman says. “Designate an area for keys and mail that is away from your cooking space. Don’t keep unhealthy snacks sitting out on the counter, where their high visibility will make them even more tempting.”
After a meal, and especially after dinner, clear plates and clean up in the kitchen right away. Leaving chores for later will only draw you back into the kitchen, where you might be tempted to snack even though you’ve already satisfied your body’s nutritional needs. In fact, Glassman says, consider adopting a closed-kitchen policy after dinnertime. Close the door to the room, if you have one, and if your home has an open floor plan, avoid making unnecessary trips to the kitchen.
“Organize your pantry and fridge with the motto, if you see it, you’ll use it,” Glassman says. “Rearrange so the healthiest choices are most visible, and the less healthy ones aren’t in easy sight.”