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Spring Cleaning... Top 5 Kitchen clutters mess with your nutrition!

Dear Ellen, It’s Spring Cleaning time, how can I best organize and clean my kitchen to optimize my nutrition?

How you care for your kitchen is a clue about whether you are giving proper attention to your own nourishment. Peter Walsh, professional organizer, argues that the stress of a cluttered home can elevate hormones causing our bodies to hold onto excess weight. A cluttered kitchen can provide triggers that may make it tough to stick to healthy eating goals and a calm mind is likely more in tune with the body and apt to choose healthier foods. A newly organized kitchen can provide the mental clarity to truly be able to ask yourself, "What do I want to eat?" and meals can become thoughtful, mindful and healthy experiences. Here are the top 4 kitchen clutters and some One Simple Changes you can make to optimize your nutrition:

1. Food

Empty Fridge, Freezer, Pantry, Spices. Check all dates and labels and keep an eye on nutrition. Rid anything that you do not love, that is out of date or not how you choose to nourish yourself going forward. Studies suggest that we eat what we see, so it makes sense to move healthier foods to visible spots so they are the first you see. For example, keep fresh fruit well displayed, out in the open, ready to grab. Store more indulgent snacks out of sight since studies suggest that this can help avoid mindless eating. When you re-fill your clean refrigerator, freezer and pantry, remember to keep in mind the recommended 5 servings of fruits & vegetables per day as well as wholefoods whenever possible. Also, research has shown that people tend to eat more from bigger packages, so aim to re-fill in smaller sizes.

2. Cupboards

Empty all dishes, glasses, silverware and cooking tools. Re-engineer your environment to help make some unconscious decisions work in favour of your health. Studies have suggested that by using smaller plates, narrower glasses and smaller portions across all aspects of diet, food consumption could be cut by up to 16%.

3. Countertops

Clear off countertops to create accessible space to help inspire you to cook healthy food rather than grabbing something processed. Remove anything from the kitchen that is not used for food preparation, storing or cleaning up. Rid yourself of duplicates, broken or chipped items and any appliances you know you will never use.

4. Table

Empty table and chairs completely. In order to eat mindfully, you need to be able to sit down! If your table doubles as a desk or workspace, organize appropriate storage to quickly close-up office at mealtime. This is especially important to be able to focus on mealtime without the distraction of work since it has been shown that people eat more when distracted. For more ideas on home office organization for small spaces, click here.

Once you have the kitchen de-cluttered and organized, you can add a few nice touches that can make it an ideal haven to relax and enjoy eating mindfully. I recommend music or candles as they can provide amazing relaxation benefits during cooking or eating. Finally, make your kitchen welcoming with a clean, clutter-free space to dine and perhaps create a comfortable spot for others to sit and talk to you while you cook.

Next week we will look specifically at spring cleaning and un-cluttering the living room, bedroom and bathroom not only to reap the health benefits mentioned above but also to help relieve spring allergies!