Kitchen Checklist

Small changes help you and your family eat better effortlessly.

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Assorted nuts in plastic containers on a counter in a bright modern kitchen
STORE ALL OF YOUR SNACKS IN PROPORTIONED, SMALL BAGS

How to do it: When you buy snacks like pretzels, portion them into small bags to avoid overeating.

Why do it? Re-bagging your snacks will help you eat reasonably sized portions.

DEDICATE THE TOP SHELF OF YOUR REFRIGERATOR TO FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

How to do it: Get in the habit of keeping your healthy foods in the front of the top shelf of your refrigerator.

Why do it? Placing the healthy options at eye level will encourage you to snack mindfully.

 

 

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ONLY OWN DINNER PLATES THAT ARE 10-INCHES OR SMALLER

How to do it: Replace your oversized plates with smaller 10-inch plates.

Why do it? Eating on smaller plates can promote smaller portions.2 Over the last few decades, the average U.S. dinner plate has grown to over 12 inches. During the same timeframe we are eating 24% more calories.

Cereals
DRINK BEVERAGES (EXCEPT FOR WATER AND WINE) OUT OF SMALLER GLASSES

How to do it: Replace your big gulp drinking glasses with smaller glasses.

Why do it? Larger glasses may increase consumption.

Side view of a spices and groceries organized in a modern kitchen drawer. Kitchen design inspiration.
CREATE A JUNK FOOD DRAWER

How to do it: Put unhealthy snacks and food out of eyes’ reach on bottom shelves or behind cabinet doors. Label it “Junk Food.”

Why do it? Most junk food is consumed because you see it and it looks good. If you’re going to have junk food in your house, hiding it from your line of vision will dramatically decrease consumption.

Cooked legumes and vegetables in a bowl
PRE-PLATE YOUR FOOD

How to do it: Plate your entire meal before sitting down at the table and leave serving dishes on the counter.

Why do it? Leave the serving dishes on the counter – not on the table – that way, if you really are hungry for seconds, you’ll be forced to stand up and walk to the kitchen. If you are accustomed to family-style dining, you can also adapt this idea by keeping the vegetables, beans, and healthier side dishes on the table and keep calorie-dense foods like heavy entrees and bread on the counter.

REMOVE SCREENS FROM YOUR KITCHEN AND DINING ROOM

How to do it: Remove the TV and other screens from your eating environment.

Why do it? When other things are going on in your eating environment, you are more likely to pay attention to them rather than the food you are consuming. Avoid multi-tasking while you eat by turning off the TV, mobile phones, and the radio. Designate a place away from the kitchen table where everyone puts their phones during meals. Practice this habit while you’re at work, too—try not to work while eating. Take some time away from your desk to eat lunch.

PUT A FILLED FRUIT BOWL ON YOUR COUNTERTOP OR KITCHEN TABLE

How to do it: Take a fruit bowl you already have and put it on your countertop or kitchen table in a well-lit, prominent place.

Why do it? Placing the healthy options in convenient, eye-level locations will encourage you to snack mindfully. Keeping the fruit bowl filled will also encourage you to buy a variety of fresh produce items.

Mashing potato process
USE HAND-OPERATED KITCHEN APPLIANCES

How to do it: Get rid of your electric can opener and use a hand-operated one instead if you are able. Try squeezing fruit juice, mashing potatoes or beans, mixing items, and pressing garlic by hand.

Why do it? Manual kitchen tasks encourage hand and arm strengthening.

DISPLAY THE LONGEVITY FOOD LISTS IN YOUR KITCHEN

How to do it: Download and print the Longevity Food List, the 4 Always, 4 to Avoid, and Blue Zones Food Guidelines and hang them in a prominent place in your kitchen so you’ll see them daily.

Why do it? These documents list the best longevity foods to have in your kitchen at all times and the worst junk food to keep out of your kitchen. These will serve as environmental nudges to help you become more conscious of your consumption.

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Sources

Hetherington M.M. and Blundell-Birtill P. (2018). The portion size effect and overconsumption – towards downsizing solutions for children and adolescents. Nutrition Bulletin; Vol. 43, Issue 1: 61-68.

Pilling, M, Clarke N, Pechey R, Hollands GJ, Marteau TM. The effect of wine glass size on volume of wine sold: A mega-analysis of studies in bars and restaurants. Addiction; 28 Feb 2020; DOI: 10.1111/add.14998

Hughes, J.W., Goldstein, C.M., Logan, C. et al. Controlled testing of novel portion control plate produces smaller self-selected portion sizes compared to regular dinner plate. BMC Obes 4, 30 (2017).

Clarke, N., Pechey, R., Pilling, M. et al. Wine glass size and wine sales: four replication studies in one restaurant and two bars. BMC Res Notes 12, 426 (2019).

Braude L, Stevenson RJ. Watching television while eating increases energy intake. Examining the mechanisms in female participants. Appetite. 2014 May;76:9-16. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.01.005. Epub 2014 Jan 22. PMID: 24462489.

Levine, James A, Mark W Vander Weg Robert C Klesges (2006), Increasing Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis: A NEAT Way to Increase Energy Expenditure in your Patients,” Obesity Management, 2:4 (August), 146-151.

 

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