Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift explains how your kitchen could be impacting your health.

Looking to improve your diet? If you consider the kitchen as the heart of your home, you may want to think about how it affects your waistline!

Kitchens are often rooms with multiple hats — not only are they a place to enjoy good food, it is often a family gathering spot, an entertainment centre, and even sometimes a children’s art museum.

With so many hours spent in kitchens, it makes sense to reflect on how this one room may be affecting our health. Here are six points to consider!

How stocked is your fridge?

Having a giant refrigerator and buying in bulk may sound like a great idea, but too much space and produce can have inadvertent costs. When your kitchen is stockpiled with treat food, healthy eating can more easily be replaced with a binge. Also, buying too much food at once can result in spoiled fruit and vegetables — causing you to grab a takeaway. Instead, try buying less food, but shopping more frequently.

Take a look at your dishes

People tend to pile on more food when their plate or bowl has extra room. If you are trying control your portion sizes, you may want to use a smaller dish. This way there won’t be an issue if you habitually finish what is on your plate.

What colour are your walls?

While cool colours like blue, purple and green seem to have a calming effect and are considered appetite-suppressing, research suggests warm colours such as red and yellow make us more excited and stimulate appetite.

Out of sight, out of mind

Foods kept on main shelves, at eye-level are most likely to be eaten first. To help you stick to your health goals, simply rearrange your cupboard, with treats kept on high or low shelves. Also, try to avoid buying food for entertaining when you don’t have plans, or skip the treat foods altogether and serve your guests fresh veggies, fruit or nuts.

Avoid clutter

A messy space can make healthy eating harder, if unearthing a countertop seems too difficult compared to grabbing a pre-packaged snack or takeaway. Plus, clutter leads to stress, which can push people to emotional eating. Have one spot for mail or similar, if need be, and keep the majority of your counter space clear for meal prep. By keeping the kitchen for its main purpose, you may find that you focus more on your food and listen to fullness cues.

Stop serving family-style

When you lay out an all-you-can-eat buffet on the dining table you are more likely to overeat. Instead, opt for a per-person single service and limit options for second-helpings by removing leftovers from sight. If you’re concerned about empty stomachs, serve a colourful healthy salad as a centrepiece on the dining table.

Remember, at least one third of all cancers can be prevented by simple healthy lifestyle changes, including limiting alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy diet.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland and healthy living is available at cancerqld.org.au.