Creating A Lean Kitchen

Do you have a “lean” kitchen?

What exactly do I mean by that question, anyway? Is there such a thing as an overweight kitchen??? Well, yeah, sort of.

Here’s what I mean when I say “lean kitchen” : Your kitchen environment is specifically set up to help you to make healthy food choices.

Whether or not we are managing our weight and health well has a LOT to do with our environment. We are bombarded every day with multiple messages that spur us to make poor food choices. Those messages are in the grocery store, on television, on the radio and at virtually every social event we go to. We can’t really control a lot of what is out there in the environment, but we CAN control how our kitchen, home and office is set up.

Here are my 5 tips to creating a Lean Kitchen:

1. Begin at the Grocery Store

If “off the plan” foods don’t make it into your kitchen, they’ll have a much more difficult time tempting you 😉 . So before shopping, it’s best to create a list of all the items you’ll need including snacks. Keep in mind that your list is only effective if you stick to it.

2. Put Your Pantry on the Program

  • Troublesome foods exert much less temptation power when they aren’t within your immediate reach or view (“Out of sight, out of mind”).
  • Use opaque containers for treats instead of clear containers
  • Keep your healthier options (fruits, single serve packages of nuts) where you can see them

3. Make splurging more of an effort

  • The harder you have to work for it, the less often you’ll do it
  • Put goodies where you’ll need to get up high or reach way back in a shelf to get them
  • Go out for treats (e.g., frozen yogurt, ice cream, dessert)
  • “Off the plan” items are best kept in single serve packaging

4. Shrink Your Dishes/Glassware

  • Big plates + big spoons = BIG servings
  • Use smaller dinner plates
  • Drink out of tall, thin glassware instead of short, wide glassware
  • Use small wine glasses
  • Use smaller spoons

5. Avoid these mindless kitchen behaviors

  • Eating while cooking
  • Eating out of large bags (chips, popcorn, nuts)
  • Eating while watching TV
  • Eating out of carton while standing at kitchen counter
  • Eating left overs off of kids’ plates

Planning is key to making many healthy changes and having a kitchen/office that doesn’t sabotage your great intentions. Whether it’s creating a grocery list, organizing your pantry or having dishes that make your meal look satisfying, planning helps you prepare in advance to be successful in your endeavors.

A great way to plan ahead is to have healthy snacks ready to go. Whether its individual containers of yogurt, cut up fruits and veggies, or snack-sized bags filled with pre-measured amounts of nuts or string cheese, prepared snacks can serve as important tools to helping you stay on track between meals.

Now, go into your kitchen and start making it “leaner!”

Leave a comment here if you’ve found good ways to avoid poor eating behaviors/tempting eating signals at home or at the office!

Committed to your success,


“Everyone—every single one of us—eats how much we eat largely because of what’s around us . We overeat because of family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, shapes and smells, distractions and distances, cupboards and containers”. Brian Wansink, PhD

Photo credit: