Tidying up is so in right now, thanks to organizational goddess Marie Kondo, whose new Netflix show features people whose lives are apparently transformed after learning the KonMari method, or Kondo’s technique for decluttering. And while I’ll leave the whole-house cleaning advice to her, I’d like to offer some suggestions for “Marie Kondo-ing” your pantry and fridge. Doing so may benefit your physical health by
making it easier to eat well.
Here’s how to “Marie Kondo” your kitchen for better health:
— Toss old food items.
— Ask: Does this make me healthier or happier?
— Make junk food scarce.
— Read labels and replace if needed.
— Remember less is more.
Read on to get started.
1. Toss out the old.
One of the basic principles of the KonMari method — to lose what you don’t use — applies nicely to food items. If it’s old, long neglected or possibly rotting in your fridge, dump it. Unlike other “things,” food doesn’t typically carry sentimental value, so aside from that bottle of wine you’re saving for a special occasion, it’s best to just make a clean sweep of the apples that have been in the produce drawer since 2018, the eggs that may or may not be past their due date and the salad dressing you don’t even remember buying.
[See: 7 Kitchen Items You Need to Replace to Protect Your Health. ]
2. Ask: Does this support health or happiness?
Kondo encourages her clients to get rid of items that don’t “spark joy.” But this may not be exactly the right question to ask as you’re sorting through your pantry or fridge. (Does that chickpea pasta spark joy? Probably not, but it’s more nutritious than regular pasta, so it stays. Am I giddy when I see the pine nuts in the back of the pantry? Not exactly. But I will likely make pesto once the summer rolls around and my basil plants begin to grow, so I’ll keep those pine nuts.) So instead of framing your organizational session in terms of joy, try asking, “Will this make me healthy?” If the answer is “no,” the next question should be, “How much do I like this?” If a food item is neither physically nourishing nor particularly delicious, why is it in your house?
3. Make healthy food most accessible.
Experts from the Mayo Clinic describe our current food environment as “obesogenic” due to its promotion of sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy food choices that contribute to the high rates of obesity. But you have some control over your home environment, which can be more “health-ogenic” if healthy choices are plentiful and unhealthy choices scarce.
In other words: If you don’t have it in your home, it’s a lot harder to eat. If there aren’t an array of chips in the pantry, you’re less likely to eat chips while you watch television in the evening. On the other hand, if your fridge crisper is full of fruits and veggies, you won’t have so much room for sour cream dips and soda. If you can find the pine nuts, you’re more likely to make homemade (and presumably healthier) pesto.
[See: 10 Healthy Habits of the ‘Naturally’ Thin.]
4. Read labels and replace if needed.
Look at the nutrition information for anything you eat regularly, and see if you can find a slightly healthier option to put in its place if necessary. For instance, can you replace the sour cream dip with a Greek yogurt-based one? How about seltzer water instead of soda? Cauliflower pretzels instead of potato chips? The good news is that these days, there’s a healthier option for all kinds of formerly health-depleting foods. Sure, you can indulge sometimes, but keeping junk in your kitchen is a recipe for indulging regularly.
5. Remember that less is more.
Back to KonMari. There are other elements of Kondo’s method that are relevant to kitchen organization. Having less is likely to make it easier to see what you do have and put it to good use. Only replenishing the fridge, cupboards and pantry with things that you will really enjoy or that are healthy will help to simplify your food choices. And, organizing your food storage may make it easier to meal prep and grocery shop.
[See: 7 Ways to Hack Your Grocery Trip for Weight Loss]
Of course, applying the KonMari technique to your kitchen probably won’t promote drastic weight loss or vastly
improve your mental health. But, if like me, you spend a fair amount of time in your kitchen, and you have no illusions of going full-blown KonMari on your bedroom closet, starting with food storage is a good idea. It may make life just a little bit easier and your food choices a whole lot healthier.
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How to ‘Marie Kondo’ Your Kitchen originally appeared on usnews.com