Spring is a time for fresh starts and new beginnings. Many individuals choose to spring clean their surrounds by decluttering and organizing. But did you know that what’s on your countertop correlates to your body mass index (BMI)?  Recent research out of Cornell University revealed that what is on your countertop does, in fact, reflect on your hips. The researchers photographed women’s kitchen counters and measured their height and BMI. They discovered that which foods were visible on the counter correlated with an individual’s weight. Interestingly, the findings suggest that those with fruit on the counter had lower BMIs.  Easy access to fruit correlated with weighing approximately 13 lbs/6 kg less than participants that had cereal, candy, cookies, chips and pop on their counters. Participants with cookies and chips visible on their counters weighed about 8 lbs/3.5 kg more than the norm. Whereas, those participants with large boxes of cereal on the countertop weighed 20lbs/9kg more. However, sugary beverages like pop revealed that those individuals tended to have a weight increase of 25 lbs/11.5 kg than the average person.
Take a moment to take an inventory what’s on your kitchen counter. Or take a photograph. Now evaluate what’s prominent. What kinds of food are visible? If you see any of the weight-inducing foods like cookies, candy, chips or cereal, put them out of sight.
Tweetable: Food on your counter can predict your weight. 
5 Tips to Spring Clean Your Kitchen Counter
Tip #1 — Add a bowl of fresh fruit
Fresh fruit is a better choice for a quick snack, but accessibility matters. If the fruit is in your refrigerator, it is out of sight. Instead select a few fruit options and put them on an eye-appealing tray or bowl each day. When fruit is prominently displayed, you are more likely to choose it over foods/snacks that you have to rummage in the cupboards for. This simple change can reflect in a lower number on the scale and looser pants.
Tip #2 — Move tempting foods out of sight
When you took your photo, did you see junk food or other tempting choices that may cause you to overeat? Put those foods into containers in the cupboard. Out of sight, out of mind. Cookies are my nemesis. I must keep cookies in non-clear tins stored up high or in the freezer in the basement. If you have cereal open and visible, you may justify a handful because it is a “healthier” choice. Cereal with whole grain labeling plastered on the front and other health-washing labeling are often packed with sugar and other ingredients that can contribute to weight gain. The take-away is read labels and put them out of sight and inconvenient to reduce temptation.
Tip #3 — Store healthy snacks in clear containers
Use clear containers to attract and appeal to your tastebuds. Personally, I use Mason jars to store raw cut vegetables like carrots, celery or broccoli florets. As well, store healthy fat sourced raw unsalted organic nuts and seeds. Dried fruit is a great grab-and-go snack, but like any food too much is not a healthy choice — measure out your portion before you pop it into your mouth.
Tip #4 — Keep water in pretty jugs
Water helps to flush toxins from your body, keep your blood flowing easily, and nourishes your cells. Water is the primary component of all the bodily fluids like blood, lymph, digestive juices, urine, tears and sweat. As well, water is involved in almost every bodily function: circulation, digestion, absorption, and of course, elimination of wastes. With that said, water is a vital addition to your body’s health. Use an eye-appealing water container that can remind you to refill your glass with refreshing water. Alternatively, purchase a water bottle that you appeals to your senses and you don’t mind carrying to have easy access to hydration.
Tip #5 — Mindfully eat to improve digestion
The state of your mind while eating is as much importance as the quality of food choices you make. Take time to develop mindful eating habits. Slow down, take deep breaths, and make a point to appreciate the taste, texture and smell of every bite. Always sit down to eat. While making healthy food choices is important — be mindful of the state of your mindset each time you eat. If you slowly chew your food, relish the colours, smells and textures and offer a blessing for your food, you will be creating a mindset of gratitude and allow your body to “rest and digest.”
“Mindful eating is very pleasant. We sit beautifully. We are aware of the people that are sitting around us. We are aware of the food on our plates. This is a deep practice.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh 
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 B. Wansink et al. “Slim by Design: Kitchen Counter Correlates of Obesity,” Health Educ Behav. 2015 Oct 19. pii: 1090198115610571, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26481966.
 Thich Nhat Hanh, “Mindful Eating,” http://www.chetday.com/mindfuleating.htm