By Mary Perry, Zone Director of Clinical Trials
In our household, if something in the kitchen can’t be found at eye level or isn’t the first thing in sight we must be out. I often laugh at my husband when I seem to have no issue locating these items, but since I’ve done the organizing what makes sense to me doesn’t always seem the most sensible to him.
Knowing the difference in our organization habits may actually prove beneficial when trying to equip our kitchen to aid in our weight loss efforts. For some of us, if it’s not easily seen it’s not a temptation, but for others if we know where it’s hidden we’re better off having it out of the house completely. Here are some ideas on how to make your kitchen more Zone® friendly so that you can minimize the temptations and maintain your wellness goals.
Eliminate Processed/Refined Foods: Consider tossing or moving unfavorable carbohydrates like pasta, rice, dry cereal, crackers, cookies and pastries out of sight. Replace these with barley, slow-cooked oats, and Zone PastaRx™.
Keep Healthy Foods in Your Line of Vision: Keeping a bowl of fruit on the counter or cut-up vegetables in the crisper is a good reminder to eat them. This is beneficial because when the urge to snack strikes you’ll have plenty of healthy options on hand to grab. Couple these with hummus, salsa, or low-fat dip for a great snack.
Evaluate Your Fats: Replace vegetable oils, shortening, butter and whole fat dairy with those low in saturated and omega-6 fatty acids. Substitute olive oil or nut butters rich in monounsaturated fats in place of vegetable oils. Keep nuts like macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios on hand for snack choices. Use low-fat or part-skim dairy products and keep items like cottage cheese and yogurt on the top shelf of the fridge for an easy to grab breakfast or snack option.
Stock the Freezer: Frozen fruits and vegetables make for great smoothies, stir-fries, or additions to yogurt and oatmeal. Since these are picked when they are at their ripest and quickly frozen they can have a higher vitamin and mineral content than fresh fruits and vegetables that sit around the supermarket or refrigerator for days. The freezer is also great for storing lean protein like chicken and fish that can easily be taken out ahead of time for weeknight meals.
Spices: Spices are a great way to add flavor (and polyphenols!) to your meals. Since they are calorie free, go to town! Add cinnamon to your oatmeal, fresh spices like mint or basil to salads, or rosemary and oregano to your protein choices.
Canned foods: Although canned foods get a bad rap for being high in sodium, don’t completely rule them out. Beans are a great way to add protein and soluble fiber to your salads and meals. Canned sardines and salmon make for a portable protein option and vegetable soups make for an easy meal that couples well with Zone PastaRx™. Do be mindful of the sodium content of canned goods just rinse the excess sodium off when possible before using.
Beverages: An easy way to cut empty calories is to eliminate sodas, fruit juices, and sugary beverages from the house. Add berries, lemons, limes and cucumber to water to add some flavor or choose calorie-free beverages like coffee, tea, or seltzer to add in some variety.
These are just some simple ways to equip your kitchen with the essentials that make staying in the Zone easy.