It’s easy to give in to cravings when the kitchen looks like the Keebler factory. But one of the most effective tricks to curb unhealthy snacking could be the simplest: fill that kitchen with the healthy stuff and keep the tempting treats hidden. Perhaps it’s time for a little kitchen makeover?

Monkey See, Monkey Chew — The Takeaway

Simply seeing or smelling food has been shown to stimulate cravings, increase hunger, and boost our prospective portion size, which together can increase our motivation to consume snacks (especially the junk variety)‘I just can’t help myself’: effects of food-cue exposure in overweight and lean individuals. Ferriday, D., Brunstrom, J.M. Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, England, UK. International Journal of Obesity. June 15, 2010.. Fighting these natural responses to food cues can be exceedingly tricky, especially if the snacks in question are within arm’s reach.

But instead of fighting those urges head-on, a recent study suggests controlling cravings could be as simple as creating distance between us and tempting treatsDo distant foods decrease intake? The effect of food accessibility on consumption. Maas, J., de Ridder, D.T., de Vet, E., et al. Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Psychology & Health. 2011 Jan 1:1-15.. Making unhealthy foods less accessible makes it easier to control snack attacks and satiate our hunger with lighter options. The quick kitchen fix? Move those healthy foods to the most visible shelves and stash the sugary treats somewhere out of sight.

But don’t think this means tossing all the goodies! Try replacing some of the junky stuff in favor of healthier substitutes. It might be impractical to make every kitchen junk-food free, but in taking steps to curb those sweet-n’-salty cravings, it’s important to give healthy foods a front row seat. A nutrient packed bowl of oatmeal may seem delicious… until that donut pulls a breakfast blitz and intercepts the eye (and with it, the appetite!). But stick that donut where the sun don’t shine (like, say, the freezer), and the fitter, friendlier option will look that much more appealing.

The Tip

It may seem obvious, but store junk food out of sight to control cravings & keep unhealthy snacking at bay.