Most of us have experienced this scenario… it’s been a crazy week, the kitchen is a little bit out of sorts, and you’re starving. What do you grab to eat? Well, preparing a salad is out of the question because your counters are covered with containers, bills, and appliances. You could make something, but the dishes still need to be done….so you end up grabbing a high carb snack from the pantry, or something from the freezer you can throw in the microwave. And since you didn’t treat yourself to a proper meal, come 9 pm you are starving, so you fill up on snacks again!
It’s a cycle that many busy folks are caught up in, but don’t want to admit, and it’s an easier fix than you think. Healthy choices typically require planning and preparation time, and when the very room required to prepare your food in is cluttered… it can very quickly kill any motivation you have to fix a healthy meal (or snack).
Researchers from the University of New South Wales in Australia conducted a study with 100 college students who were split up into groups. Half in a “chaotic” kitchen and half in a tidy, organized kitchen.
They were then asked to remember a time when they felt in control or a time they felt out of control. Then they were given cookies, crackers and carrots to taste and rate. Participants in the chaotic kitchen (and in the out-of-control mindset) ate more cookies, about twice the calories’ worth than those in an “in-control” frame of mind in the tidy kitchen.
The results suggested that eating in a chaotic environment may derail your diet and actually wire your brain to eat more. Afterall, many humans eat more in stressful situations, and your messy kitchen can actually induce stress you may not be aware of.
A statement from the researchers:
“Although a chaotic environment can create a vulnerability to making unhealthy food choices, one’s mindset in that environment can either trigger or buffer against that vulnerability.”
Living in a cluttered state alone can induce stress and hormone imbalances that are scientifically proven to lead to weight gain and obesity.
The moral of the story is to make your kitchen space a top priority when it comes to being tidy, clean and organized. Not only will it be easier to prepare healthier choices, but it will actually help diminish environmental stress that can lead to weight gain!