Can Your Kitchen Make You Fat?

Can Your Kitchen Make You Fat?

Maybe this can help with your “I am going to lose weight”  New Year’s resolution!?

Who would’ve thought? I just read an article mentioned in an online ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) newsletter.  It was written for and posted byMail Online(from the UK--and including the "artwork").  If you check out the story this all seems quite logical:

Since the 1920’s every 10 years, women have added ½” to their busts, 1” to their waists, and ¾” to their hips.  In the same time period, the size of the average kitchen has doubled.  Now it’s often the largest room in the house.

It used to be that meals were prepared in the kitchen and eaten in the dining room.  After the kitchen was cleaned up, no one went back into the kitchen till the next morning.  All of us know that’s no longer true.  We have made the kitchen the center of family activity.  Kids do homework there, watch TV and hang out, and chat on the phone in the kitchen. Statistically, most of us spend most of our time at home in the kitchen.

From a Designer’s point of view, clients have been making kitchens larger (proportionally) and more multi-purpose over the past 20-30 years.  Walls between the kitchen and other spaces have come down and it’s quite unusual to find or design for a room that is only a kitchen.

Beautifully designed islands (often quite large) are no help.  According to this article (and it makes so much sense), the island isn’t just for food prep and place for stools set up for a quick meal in the morning.  The island actually can become an easy set-up for buffet-style family meals--and overeating.  Logic again:  serving meals on a plate then set on the table can only help with portion control, especially if the table is in a different room!  I suppose that setting up a comfy coffee table in front of a TV in the same space could be considered a disaster.

When we “live” in the kitchen, gorgeous counters get cluttered.  Since we have less room to prepare healthy snacks (like preparing a sandwich or cutting up veggies), it’s simpler to take out a bag of chips or another fast prepared snack.  Saving space for a bowl of fruit is pretty successful!  And there are so many decorative bowls you can find to add your personality to this important item!  Another tip:  use any open shelves for display or for cookbooks.  If you put containers of dried pasta, candy, etc., it can entice you to eat more!  (Who knew?  But it makes sense!)

Lighting design is one of my favorite parts of laying out and choosing products for a kitchen.  There are so many ways to light a kitchen.  To work in our kitchen we like it to be bright.  Ever notice that fast food shops and restaurants are so bright?  This article says that it’s because bright lights (are you ready?) raise our stress levels which makes us hungrier and then “eat up” faster…which is why we get out of all those places in minutes!  In our own kitchens, using dimmable lighting would help us relax more and grab less for that handy food.  Also, changing the type of lighting when we are not cooking would be a wonderful idea:  like using under-cabinet lights and/or the fixtures over the island.  If that’s not available, change plain switches to dimmers.  Even some fluorescent lamps (bulbs) can be dimmed.

Colors:  bright is IN (next blog post).  Warm colors (like yellow) are likely to make you eat more.  So use blues and silvers and greens (light green is a big fashion color this spring), no, it doesn’t have to be beige or white.

And 2 more items I hadn’t considered: pantries are meant to be filled, and that relates to buying in bulk!  Huge refrigerators are in the same category.  There are statistics quoted in the Daily Mail story that reminds us: we prepare 23% more food when bought in bulk, 50% of snack foods bought in bulk are eaten within 6 days of purchase, and we eat twice as many sweets from big bags than individually portioned packages.  So logical:  we eat more from a large fridge so that we don’t throw out the food.  A smaller fridge has us shopping more often to keep the food fresh.

Another interesting item this writer touched on:  plates, bowls and (especially) wine goblets we use at home have also gotten bigger, so use the smaller plates to serve the family and seek smaller wine glasses (maybe, or maybe not).

Next:  Colors 2012 – (statistically) a popular DesignSense topic!

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