Habits of Healthy Eaters: Out of Sight, Out of Mouth

By , SparkPeople Blogger
A couple of years ago, my grandparents sold their second home, which meant they suddenly had an extra home full of stuff to give away or sell. Among the nifty items that became mine were a German cuckoo clock, a rocking chair, a decade's worth of Bon Appetit magazines--and Tupperware. Lots of Tupperware.

My grandmother stores all her dry goods in clearly labeled opaque Tupperware or ceramic canisters. Not only did it keep her cupboards organized, but it kept little hands from reaching into the cookie jar when the grandkids were little.

After inheriting her extra set, I realized that Gramma was onto something.

I planned to use my canisters for storing dry goods, just like Gramma does, but I realized that I could also use them for storing foods that might tempt me: chocolate chips for baking, chips, cookies, etc. Not only would the streamlined containers take up less space in my small kitchen, but they would also keep temptations out of sight.

I recently read a story about nixing food cravings. Among the tactics that worked for one chocolate addict: replacing the M&Ms in her candy bowl with marbles. According to that same story, "To avoid dying in a famine, the brain is wired to pick up on signs that calorie-rich foods are nearby, which helps explain why that piece of cake on the plate in front of you is so irresistible, or why seeing a sign for a doughnut shop draws you in even when you know you need to watch your diet."

What else can you do to put healthy food at the forefront--and banish junk to the shadows?
  • If you're tempted by the sight of junk food, put it away! Take the candy bowl off the living room table. Fill the one at your desk with a healthy alternative like gum, fruit or nuts--unless those are a trigger food for you. (By the way, I remember that my grandparents used to have a candy bowl that had a lid. Again, Gramma knows best--that lid hid temptations!)
  • Keep non-perishable fruits and vegetables food front and center. Fill a large bowl with fruit and place it somewhere you'll pass by several times a day: on the kitchen counter or on the table. (Learn which fruits and vegetables need to be refrigerated and which ones can be stored on the counter.)
  • When organizing your pantry of cupboards, keep healthy snacks at eye level--the opposite of what supermarkets do! In the fridge and freezer, keep the good stuff up front and center and put treats in a place that's out of the way. I keep the ice cream in the back corner of the freezer so I have some time to think about whether I really want it.
  • Store healthy foods in glass jars for easy access and inspiration. I love seeing all my grains, dried beans and other staples lined up neatly.
  • Consider stocking up on healthy snacks at work. On Mondays, I bring in several pieces of fruit and place them on top of my filing cabinet. Rather than bring in one piece every day--or risk forgetting a snack--I have a variety of choices from which to choose.
How do you keep healthy foods in sight? Do you use any of these "out of sight, out of mouth" tactics? Share your best tips below.

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I've definitely found that out of sight, out of mouth is working for me!

Great idea for using the opaque containers! Thanks! Report
Good advice. I'm putting some healthy fruits in a bowl on my dining table. Thanks for sharing. Report
The boys got downright rebellious when I stopped buy junk food and left fruit out for all to enjoy. "There's NOTHING to eat in this house. NOTHING! "

They just had to have their cookie. So I dedicated a cabinet in the room next to the kitchen just for their junk. Report
I never really ate "junk food" -- my weight gain came from over-eating the wrong foods, such as white rice, home-made bread, pasta and more pasta. For me, portion control is the guide I follow and allow myself a set amount of calories for snacks in my total calorie count. Having the nutrition tracker on Spark also keeps me honest! It is hard to "sneak" food if you are carefully logging your intake. My snack choices have changed as well -- now it is a piece of fruit, almonds or other portioned choices. I'm fortunate that I don't have cravings for chocolate etc. And when I make cookies or other indulgent foods, I eat a small portion and give the rest away. Good fortune for my friends and neighbors and less temptation for me. I love cooking and baking and I'm glad that I can enjoy the pleasures of food from the compliments I get from those who taste (and see) my results! Report
I don't buy the "snack" foods so if I want a unhealthy snack -- I must drive to the store to get it. The potato chips, candy or ice cream, you know-- Talk about thinking twice! Report
I have a cabinet above my fridge, that I have to climb a stool to reach. That's where the junk food goes in my house. It takes a lot of effort to get to it, so I have to REALLY want something to go up there. Works pretty well. Report
thats a great idea to put these things in opaque containers Report
I find the best way not to be tempted by unhealthy foods is to not buy them in the first place. If I do have a craving for chocolate, for example, I will buy a single serving size, not whole bag. Report
I like to have a few chocolate treats around for when I get a craving (they're few and far between for me.) But if I leave it in the cupboard where I can see it I eat it more often. So I started putting it in a tupperware container on the top shelf of the closet. If I really want it I have access to it, but otherwise I totally forget it's even there. Report
I also just don't buy the foods that are my trigger foods, or if I do, I put them into little bags in serving sizes and have my husband hide them, and ask for them when they fit into my diet for the day. I also go out to the store and when I want ice cream buy a one serving size container. That way I don't over do it. Report
If I know it's in the house an opaque container isn't going to stop me. In fact, not keeping it in the house won't stop me either. If I'm craving something, I CRAVE it and have to drive somewhere to get it will not stop me. What can I say, I'm pretty darn determined. Mostly I get cravings due to boredom, so I try to get my mind on something else. Sometimes it works and sometimes I have to find my car keys ;) Report
I don't buy junkfood--out of sight, out of mind is good, but out of the house is even better. ;) Report
Excellent ideas. However, having to be quite candid SEEING certain items in clear or OPAGUE canisters doesn't work for me as well as JUST NOT BUYING THEM. It's very difficult for me to bypass the cookie jar because it's always filled with cookies (my dh eats) and so far THANKFULLY, I don't bother with them -- but I do know that they are there. For me TOTALLY OUT OF SIGHT is a far better choice. Report
I try not to buy food I know I'll obsess about. Before I started SP, I could clear an entire half-gallon of ice cream in less than 24 hours. It was reduced fat ice cream, but still! I also have stopped letting myself consider going through the drive-through at Bruster's - a delicious ice cream drive-in.

My husband bought two bags of M&Ms, one pretzel kind (which I can't eat because I'm allergic to wheat - so no temptation there), and the peanut butter kind. Now those pose a problem! Next to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, PB M&Ms are probably my favorite candy. I asked him to hide them so I wouldn't know where they were. Yummy stuff like that tends to call my name. "Psst, Leigh... I'm over heeeerrrrreeee!"

I bring healthy snacks with me to work. I've got vanilla non-fat greek yogurt, nature valley oats & honey granola bars with me today. Allowing myself these little treats in between meals keeps me from overeating. Or, at least wishing I had more to eat. Report
I keep pastas, nuts, flours, dried beans, and dried fruits stacked in mason jars on the counter, a large fruit bowl on the island, and hide junk food out of sight. Chips go on top of the refrigerator, cookies in the top of the cabinet, and crackers in the cabinet below the island. I am guilty of having cookies in a glass jar on the counter, but because they are store bought chocolate chip it is not a temptation for me. I'm working to migrate those out of sight of others too.

I have started to not buy cookies and ice cream that I know that I am the main consumer of. If it's not there I can't eat it, right?

My cabinet at work is stocked with almonds, apples, bananas, oatmeal, granola bars, luna bars, microwave popcorn, and applesauce. In the work fridge there is more fresh fruit, reduced fat cheese sticks, and natural peanut butter. Report
I avoid the temptations by not buying them. I know if I buy bags of chips or candy, I'll just eat them all in one day, so I just do not keep them in my house. But this is a good idea if you have the cabinet space. Report
My dad loves a donut for breakfast. When he brings home a pink box, I've asked him to cover it with a spare dishcloth. When I don't see the actual donuts, I don't crave them!

When I look, it's much harder for me to resist. In fact it's like they scream out to me. When I haven't seen them, out of sight, out of mind. Report
I would ask myself " what would Donny Osmond Eat", "would he eat that"
(I am serious about this) he looks good in his photos at 54
years old. him & I are both Latter-Day Saints ( mormons) and it looks
like he follows what is called the word of wisdom ( Gods plan of health)
and he is benefitting from it really well, although i have not met Donny Osmond
before. Just seen Photos and a couple of music videos of him. so this is what helps me. Report
I have learned the hard way, I shop right after a meal and don't even go near the junk food sections while shopping. Report
Better yet, don't buy those temptations. Rarely will a person jump in the car to go get a cookie or chips. Report
Most of my life has been a 'See Food' diet (see food and eat it). I will pay more attention to how I store food in my panty/fridge (location, location, location) Report
I use my candy dish for sugar free gum Report
I love the suggestion in the linked article of eating chocolate in the middle of a meal, not before or after. This might just help to break my dessert every night habit. Report
A great "out of sight, out of mouth" tactic? Leave junk food at the store and out of the house! Works every time... Report
I find that if I store cookies in the freezer after I bake a batch, I am more likely to only take one, rather than eat a dozen! Report
All great tips: I used to be really bad for dipping into my baking supplies when I had choco cravings. Now they are stored in my top-most shelf. I literally have to take a chair or step-lader over into my kitchen to get to the sweet little chips ~ which gives time to think about "I look like an addict - do I REALLY want these?" Report
I have been doing this for a while. It really works. I am always on the lookout for cute clear cannisters. Report
Hmm, I was just thinking about cleaning and reorganizing my kitchen. Will definitely use some of these ideas! Report
looks like my future kitchen. Report
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