Wanna fast-track your weight loss? Forget peeking at the scale – turn your attention to the fridge…
Chances are you unpack your weekly grocery shopping with as much thought as you give to Sunday’s laundry. A triangle of Brie on the top shelf; milk in the left-hand corner with the garlic and dark chocolate. Be warned: research shows where you put your food can have a big impact on how you eat, so it’s time to become fridge aware. Here’s how to stack and snack yourself slimmer.
1. Colour code
Ever open your fridge and feel like it’s an out-take from TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive? We know the feeling. What we bet you didn’t know, though, is research from the Journal of Consumer Psychology found a cluttered fridge can crush your willpower. Weight-loss coach Nicky Anstey explains that in a busy fridge, the bright, attractive packaging of less healthy products distracts you from the more earthy colours of your fresh produce – there’s a reason McDonalds chose a red and yellow colour scheme.
Both these colours have been proven to boost your appetite, particularly red, which signals ripeness and sweetness, according to research published in the Journal of Sensory Studies. So ditch the strawberry cheesecake and replace it with red- or yellow-hued healthy snacks. Pass the peppers, please.
2. Make eye contact
“Place your healthiest snacks and food with the most nutrients at eye level,” says eating and behavioural therapist James Lamper. “So if you get the munchies, they’ll be the first thing you see when you open the fridge.” According to a US study, you’re 2.7 times more likely to eat healthy food if it’s in your line of sight. If you want to go the extra mile, store your naughty treats at the back of the fridge and the bottom of the pile. A study led by nutritional behaviour professor Dr Brian Wansink suggests the more inconvenient the location of your chocolate, the less likely you are to reach for it.
3. Buy big, eat small
A study published in the Journal of Marketing found people eat larger quantities of junk food if it’s kept in clear packages. The same research also showed when your naughty treats are bite size, you’re more likely to eat more. Our advice: buy the bowling ball of Edam rather than seductive mini cheeselings. And keep your chocolate and cheese in opaque Tupperware at the back of the fridge. Plus, if you can, make the containers blue. Studies show that blue is a common appetite suppressant.
4. Chop to slim
A healthy snack can curb hunger throughout the day and keep you fuller for longer. Try make your snacks fruit and veg and ensure they’re pre-cut – that way you’re more likely to munch them. After hitting the supermarket, immediately wash, cut and store. Also place that tub of pre-cut veggies next to a tub of hummus or low-kilojoule yoghurt-dill dip. Carrot sticks? Bleh. Carrot sticks and dip? Mmm, much more appealing!
5. Fit for flavour
Kilojoule-conscious eating doesn’t mean boring fare. Keeping an arsenal of diet-friendly flavourings inside the door of your fridge can make any meal moreish. Try mustard, low-sodium soy sauce, Tabasco and herbs like chives, thyme and rosemary. They can be loosely placed in cling film and popped in the warmest part of the fridge (one of the compartments in the door).
This article was originally published in Women's Health SA.