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Design a Skinny Kitchen

Take a break from the killer boot-camp-cardio-yoga-thon and take control of your weight by making simple changes in your kitchen.

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Design a Skinny Kitchen

You are what you eat, they say. But what about where you eat? Can your own kitchen have an impact on your eating habits and waistline?

In a word: Yes. Brian Wansink, Ph.D—director of Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab and author of "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think"—says there are simple ways to equip your kitchen for healthy eating habits, backed by science to boot. Here’s the skinny.

Buy Smaller Serving Dishes.
Size matters. You may love those oversized plates that sit in your kitchen cupboards—you handpicked them from the Pottery Barn catalog yourself, after all—but the truth is, they may be causing you to consume more calories than you otherwise would. If you eat off a 12-inch dinner plate instead of a 10-inch one, you’re likely to eat about 22 percent more, according to Wansink’s research, so swap those big plates out for smaller ones. How’s that for a foolproof diet? Same goes for other serving dishes. Studies show that a whopping 72 percent of our calories come from food that we eat from bowls, plates and glasses—so replace jumbo kitchenware, stat.

MORE: Outsmart Your Eating Instincts

Say Yes to Smaller Spoons.
Serving spoons—same applies. When you use a larger spoon to dish up your mashed potatoes, macaroni, (insert whatever makes your mouth water here), you’re likely to consume up to 14.5 percent more than you would with a small spoon. Your guests won’t even notice the change! But feel free to jumbo-size those salad tongs. The bigger the tongs, the easier it is for people to grab large amounts of healthy greens.

Keep Food Hidden From View.
It might seem obvious, but food follows the old cardinal rule: Out of sight, out of mind. Keeping food tucked away in the refrigerator and pantry can, you know, hugely decrease your desire to consume them like a hungry dinosaur. Who hasn’t been there? Understandably, we crave food most when we see it, just like we start salivating like a Pavlovian dog when someone merely mentions a hot-fudge sundae. The trick? Turn this concept on its head. If you’re going to grab food that crosses your field of vision, a bowl of fruit or vegetables sitting in plain view will encourage you to grab healthy snacks instead.

QUIZ: What's Your Eating Style?

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