Set yourself up for success by packing your kitchen with the right foods and tools for weight loss
Prime Your Space for Success
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First things first: If you want to lose weight, you must get your kitchen on board. This means packing it with ammunition that could help fuel your goals. We don't just mean healthy food, but also kitchen gadgets that can end up making a difference between pounds lost and pounds gained. So here's how to stock a healthy kitchen to better prepare you for success. (Psst... Is What's On Your Kitchen Counter Causing Your Weight Gain?)
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Sure, you could just turn on the faucet, but a pitcher of cold water with slices of lemon or cucumber staring at you when you open the fridge acts as a friendly reminder to drink up. This works especially well if you don't enjoy the taste of plain water. A study published by Obesity revealed that participants that loaded up on water lost about three more pounds than the group that didn't increase their water intake. Water before a meal can increase satiety, and therefore help you to eat less.
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If you're heavy-handed with oil when cooking, a spray bottle is the perfect solution. Place your favorite heart-healthy oil, such as olive or avocado, in the spray bottle, and you'll find that by spritzing instead of pouring, you automatically start to use less. It's not uncommon to use oil throughout an entire meal—salads, veggies, entrees—so you'll be surprised how much of a difference this spraying technique can make calorie-wise.
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Spiralizers are a great way to incorporate veggies into your meal while cutting back on minimally nutritious ingredients. Instead of sitting down to a huge bowl of pasta, you can cut calories by replacing half of the spaghetti with zucchini, carrots, or butternut squash spirals. There are so many healthy spiralized recipes to try, you'll never be bored with the same old spaghetti and meatballs again.
Measuring Spoons and Cups
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It can be difficult to really know how much you're eating unless you truly measure. Eyeballing portion sizes might be quicker, but measuring is by far more accurate. In order to ensure that you are keeping to proper serving sizes, measuring spoons and cups are a necessity. (Psst... Check out this infographic for serving sizes of your favorite foods!)
Smaller Plates and Bowls
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The larger the plates, the greater the tendency to pile on the food. Professors Brian Wansink and Koert van Ittersum from Cornell University found that larger plates can make a serving of food appear smaller, and smaller plates can lead us to misjudge that very same quantity of food as being significantly larger. Use this to your advantage and enjoy the same amount of food without feeling cheated.
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Who knew that a shot glass could be used to measure anything besides just alcohol? (We did!) We love it for nuts—you know, one of those "healthy" foods that you tend to easily overeat. And a one-ounce shot glass just so happens to be the exact portion size of nuts you should be eating in one serving; if you're choosing almonds, a mid-morning snack helped control appetite and resulted in reduced calorie intake by the female participants during the rest of the day, according to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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There's nothing like grilled fish and veggies for dinner—a great option if you're trying to lose weight. Enjoy this light and fresh meal even with a foot of snow on the ground with a stovetop grill or grill pan. Grilling promotes healthy, flavorful cooking without a lot of added oil, and you should be able to "fire up the grill" year-round.
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Just like with plate sizes, the size of our glasses can make a big difference on how much we consume; the bigger the glass, the bigger the pour. A standard serving of juice is only six to eight ounces, whereas most glasses you buy are twelve ounces or more. So whether you're drinking juice or other beverages besides water, downsizing is your best bet. And while you're at it, you might also consider looking for smaller wine glasses. (How Much Green Juice Is Too Much?)
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Fresh lemon can add a lot of flavor to salads, veggies, and marinates without adding a lot of calories, and a lemon squeezer makes it so easy—say goodbye to all those little seeds getting in the way! And if you're still wondering if drinking hot lemon water will help you lose weight, we're sorry to say, probably not. But a squeeze or two in your drinking water couldn't hurt, especially if it encourages you to stay hydrated.
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Love a hearty vegetable soup but not the time it can take to cook one? A pressure cooker might be the answer; it makes cooking flavorful healthy—especially soups—meals quick and easy, especially soups. And the good news: Research published in Appetite concluded that consuming a low-energy-dense soup before a meal can decrease hunger, increase fullness, and reduce subsequent test meal intake.