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February seems to bring out the organizing, aligning, revising side of my personality. Maybe it’s the new year, or maybe it’s the coming of spring – I’m just ready to clear the clutter and move forward!

Even in the midst of chaos, the kitchen has always been one place I strive to maintain clean and clear. I was very interested to read this report conducted by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab on the value of an uncluttered kitchen.

In the final analysis it seems that clutter in the kitchen fuels an out of control mindset, and triggers indulging in snacks and comfort food (in this report, cookies).

With that in mind, I thought I’d offer some tips on clearing your kitchen environment and prepping for successful snacks. As we called these types of concepts in Skinny Gut Diet – Power Tools!

First, if your kitchen is cluttered, it could be your cabinets are so full that extra objects have to sit on your counter because they have nowhere else to go. Scan through your cabinets one at a time and lessen the load. Box up the stuff you never use, and move the once or twice a year plates, pots or appliances to a higher, less trafficked shelf. This will help get objects off the counter and out of sight. Ahhh…

A small basket might do the trick for the paperwork that tends to piles up. If you live with others, possibly designate a place where everyone’s homeless mystery items might be placed until they are put in their proper location.

Next let’s organize the kind of snacks that support your clear minded goals. The value of allotting some time on the weekend to plan your weekly snacks cannot be over-emphasized!

Since eating at least an ounce of protein every 2-3 hours helps to balance your blood sugar and eliminate cravings, easy-to-grab protein snacks make things simple.

Roll-ups are a favorite at my house. Sliced proteins like turkey or ham and cheese, with a slice of pickle, a bit of sauerkraut, mustard, a slice of avocado or red pepper in the middle are very satisfying. Sometimes we roll them in a veggie leaf. For clean fingers, cover them with a paper towel and store in a plastic bag, a few at a time.

Pre-measuring single serve packets of almonds or sunflower seeds is a great strategy when you’re on the go. Tip – beware of carrying full canisters of nuts with you. Although nuts can be great snacks, overindulgence in these foods will demolish your low carb eating plan. Remember – nuts and seeds have as many carbs as they do protein in most cases.

Please believe me, the time it takes to pre-prepare your protein snacks (and lunches too) will pay off happily as your cravings cease, your blood sugar stabilizes, and your unwanted pounds shed.

And for a natural boost to your mindset, explore and enjoy lots of fermented foods, from pickles to kefir to sauerkraut to kimchi. According to research, those good bacteria just may balance your mood, helping you remain calm and collected in the midst of a day that may not resemble your clean and tidy kitchen at all!

Clutter – be gone! And let healthy snacks take your place!