The Slim Way to Organize Your Kitchen


Getty ImagesThe first place to start? The refrigerator
First, ditch the soda—regular and diet (carbonation plus artificial sweetners equals bloat), and replace it with water and iced green tea. Better yet, try the CarbLovers Fat-Flushing Cocktail: Take 2 quarts brewed green tea and add the juice of 1 lemon, 1 lime, and 1 orange. Mix all ingredients together in a large pitcher. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you must keep soda and fruit juice around for your family, do yourself a favor and store them out of sight. That way, you'll be more likely to grab something diet-friendly.

Invest in fridge- and freezer-friendly stackable containers so the healthy stuff—chopped veggies, herbs, sliced fruit, and all your make-ahead beans, barley, and brown rice—is easier to grab than fattening fare. These will keep your fridge clutter-free, and encourage you to cook CarbLovers meals in large batches that you can use for the whole week. Look for the "make-ahead" icon on some of the recipes. These meals can be made in advance of serving, and many are appropriate for freezing.

Your next stop is the countertop
This is a space that can make or break your diet. Keep your blender close to where you chop fruits or veggies so it's always supereasy to prepare a healthy smoothie or soup. Set out a wooden block or hang a magnetic strip for chopping knives to make it easy to trim excess fat from meat and slice fiber-filled veggies and fruit.

Next to those slicers, use decorative hooks to dangle tools like an apple corer, a citrus zester, and a handheld squeezer (to add no-fat flavor to fish, pastas, marinades, and salad dressings).

Top your countertop with a big, beautiful basket, and use it to contain kitchen-table clutter, so you won't be tempted to multitask during meals. (Also recommended: a bouquet of fresh flowers, just because you deserve it.) Cooking and eating without distractions will help you focus! Speaking of focus, plug in your iPod and listen to music that de-stresses you. Research suggests that ab fat cells expand in response to the stress hormone cortisol, but cortisol levels decrease faster in people who listen to relaxing music than in those who don't.

De-clutter the pantry
Don't keep unhealthy snacks around to tempt you into mindless munching while you're cooking meals. Instead, keep airtight containers of dry ingredients like pasta and beans on the lowest shelves, so they're convenient for everyday use (check them periodically for freshness).

An extra tip: grow your own oregano, thyme, and rosemary along your windowsill, and you'll have an easy, no-cal way to jazz up healthy foods like grilled chicken and veggies.