How messy is your kitchen? A new study suggests that chaotic environments, such as a messy kitchen, and our mind-set in that environment may affect our ability to make healthy choices when it comes to snacking.
Choosing healthy meals and snacks can help to maintain a healthy weight and decrease cancer risk. This means that by decreasing chaos and feeling more in control, you may make it easier to eat healthy for cancer prevention.
The study is published in the Environment and Behavior journal.
Can a messy kitchen lead to eating more sweets?
Female college undergraduate students were put into either a standard kitchen or a messy chaotic kitchen. The standard kitchen was organized and quiet with no disruptions. In contrast the chaotic kitchen was messy with tables out of place and pots and pans scattered around. During the experiment, the chaotic kitchen participants were interrupted by researchers moving tables and banging put and pans as they cleaned up the mess.
Cancer Prevention Month is a great time to make it easier than ever for you and your family to make a habit of choosing healthy, cancer-protective foods for those times you wander into the kitchen looking for a little bite to eat or need a quick meal.
Starting with your refrigerator and freezer, re-stocking and rearranging can make all the difference in what you choose. Follow these five steps and you and your family will be on the road to healthier eating and lower cancer risk.
- Fill your freezer with easy-prep veggies and fruit: Frozen greens, peas, corn and other veggies are simple to steam for a quick side at dinner. Mix frozen fruit chunks and berries for a colorful and healthful dessert or smoothie. Ditch the frozen fries and make room for bags of convenient, affordable frozen fruits and veggies.
- Swap out refined “white” grains with cancer-fighting whole grains: Keep whole grain wraps, pitas and sliced bread in the freezer to make a quick sandwich or use the pita or a whole-wheat crust for a healthy homemade pizza. And, instead of white rice, stock up on already cooked frozen brown rice – super convenient as a base for veggie stir-fry or stew.
- Stock up on carrots, celery, bell pepper, apples and oranges: Produce items like these are cost effective and have minimal waste. Cut up those veggies and fruits, clear off your top fridge shelf and put them on a tray front and center. Place your favorite dip there too, so when you and your kids open the fridge door, you can easily grab a veggies and fruit snack.
- Feature creative healthy beverages and ditch the sugary drinks: Sugary beverages contribute to obesity, a cause of 10 types of cancer. You can replace sodas and other sweet drinks with a couple pitchers or bottles of water – plain and sparkling, along with plain black, green or herbal teas. As a family, experiment adding in fruits like lemon, lime or orange slices, frozen berries, a splash of 100% juice or fresh herbs like basil, mint or ginger slices. Make flavored ice cubes with juice, tea or chopped fruit.
- Use see-through containers for healthy ingredients: Next to the plain yogurt, keep leftover canned fruit chunks, sunflower seeds, nuts and other fruit in see-through containers to inspire a colorful yogurt parfait. Put the peanut butter jar, hummus container and leftover chicken where it’s easy to see and grab.
Now that your fridge and freezer are stocked and ready to go, try these ideas for quick and affordable meals and snacks:
Winter Veggie Pita Pizzas (and other recipes)
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AICR Healthy Kids
Just in time for your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and lose weight, US News published Best Diets 2016, a comprehensive review of diets of all kinds, including for overall health, weight loss and chronic disease prevention. They didn’t include lowering cancer risk in their analysis, but I couldn’t help but notice that most of the highest ranking diets would work well with AICR’s New American Plate model – designed for reducing risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
They asked experts in nutrition and weight loss to rate – using the research behind them – how strong the diets are for long and short term weight loss, nutrition, safety, preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease, and how easy it is to follow. The DASH diet (to lower hypertension)won in the most categories, with Weight Watchers ranking highly too. Others scoring well were a diet for brain health (MIND) and for lowering cholesterol (TLC). Continue reading