If you have ever bought or sold a house, you know the kitchen can be a deal breaker. Real estate experts will tell you that a kitchen redo will give you the greatest return on investment. Now it looks like that kitchen makeover could also help you eat healthier.

Cornell University is home to the Food and Brand Lab whose research focuses on better understanding consumers and how they relate to foods and packaged foods. Brian Wansink, the leading expert in food behavior, who just released a new book, titled Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life, heads the lab. In his book, he looks at how the design of restaurants, supermarkets, lunchroom and home kitchens can trigger mindless eating which in turn can lead to weight gain. Did you know that the color of your kitchen or how comfortable it is might make you eat more?

Here are 7 tips, from Wansink, on how to makeover your kitchen to decrease mindless eating:

Find Another Entrance

Believe it or not, people who open the door and land right in the kitchen weigh more than those people who enter through another door. If you can’t redesign your doorway, make another door your main entrance.

Be Color Boring 

Most people like white or cream kitchens, but those colors stimulate your taste buds, making you eat more. On the other hand, if you go too dark and have low lighting, your eating slows down which usually leads to more eating. He suggests colors such as gold, earthy greens and blues, tans and his kitchen color, pumpkin.

Don’t Make It Too Comfortable

Yes, the kitchen is the hub of the home where homework gets done, messages and events get posted, TV gets watched and meaningful conversations take place. But all of those things lead to more time in the kitchen, which leads to more time around food and eventually more eating. So don’t put comfy chairs, a TV or design a built-in desk in your kitchen and instead make it a place to store food and cook it.

Design For Cooking Ease

Things like where your sink is located in relation to your fridge, where the microwave is placed (if you even have one) and how much lighting you have all have an effect on how much and what you cook at home. If you have adequate space, lighting and a convenient workflow, you are more likely to cook fresh foods at home.

Get Rid Of The Clutter

Mail, newspapers, magazines, backpacks, cutting boards and even a blender all contribute to mindless eating. Wansink found that people with a cluttered kitchen ate 44% more snack foods than those who had an organized and decluttered one. So make sure you have adequate cabinet storage and a “stuff drop” location away from the kitchen. And food counts as clutter too. Put all food items away except for fruit. The saying “out of sight, out of mind” is true where mindless eating is concerned.

Rearrange Your Food Storage

It has been shown that we reach for the first thing we see so make sure that is a healthier food. Put your fruits in vegetables on the top shelf of the fridge not in the crisper and the chips at the back of the pantry. If possible, move your “pantry” to the basement or to a closet away from the kitchen. You’ll have to walk a few more steps and be less likely to just snack mindlessly.

Downsize Your Plates

The bigger the plate, the more food you need to put on it to make it look full. Trade your 12-inch plates for 10-inch plates and make sure your plates are a color that contrast with the majority of the meals you make. If your food and plate are the same color, you’re likely to serve yourself 18% more food. White plates provide the greatest contrast by showing off your culinary creations.

By making a few design changes and working a Rise coach, your kitchen could actually make you a healthier and happier eater. And wouldn’t that be the best return on your investment!


Written by Joanne Perez, MS, RDN, LD. Joanne is a Rise Coach and Registered Dietitian. She has over 20 years of experience in nutrition counseling and wellness. Joanne loves running, going to the beach and spending time with her kids.  Want to work with Joanne or another Rise coach like her? Get started at www.rise.us/r/JOANNEPEREZ