According to recent research, did you know. . .
- people ate 19 percent more food if they served it family-style at the table versus serving from the stove or counter?
- women who had a box of breakfast cereal in view anywhere in their kitchen weighed on average 21 pounds more than those who had no cereal in sight?
- those who had a fruit bowl (with fruit in it) visible on their counter weighed on average 7 pounds less than those who didn’t have fruit in view?
Brian Wansink is a professor and director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He and his lab study eating behavior and their research is fascinating and really useful when put into practice. In his latest book “Slim By Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life”, Wansink argues (and is backed by countless peer-reviewed research studies) that it’s easier to change your environment than it is to change your mind when it comes to eating healthier and eating less. Grab a copy of the book if you’d like, it’s well worth a read.
If you’re not a nutrition nerd like me and would rather I summarize what you really need to know from the book, here it goes. . .
- Put a fruit bowl on the kitchen counter in a highly visible spot (like next to the door) and keep it filled with 2 to 3 different types of fresh fruit.
- Move ALL food off the counter and out of sight, except the fruit bowl.
- At dinner or other meals at home, serve all food from the counter or stove. If you’re serving salad, put the salad bowl in the middle of the table.
- Rearrange your pantry and cupboards so the healthiest foods are in the front at eye level (for you AND your kids) and the least healthful foods are hard to see and/or get to.
- Cut veggies and fruit and place it at eye level (or on the top shelf) in the fridge in clear containers or bags. Get that good produce out of the crisper drawers and make it easy to eat!
Choose 1 or 2 of the above changes or make all 5. Whatever you do though, don’t read this and think “now I know where other people fall short, I won’t”. It doesn’t work like that! Just because you know better, doesn’t mean you will remember that you’ll eat less when you serve dinner from the stove after a long day of work while the dog is barking and the kids are getting ready for bed. Changing your eating environment supports MINDLESSLY eating less and making healthier choices. No will power required. Cool stuff, wouldn’t you agree?
These changes should all take less than 10 minutes and cost nothing.
Which change are you going to make first? Leave a comment below to share!