Saturday, May 5, 2012

Healthy-up your Kitchen Counter and Office

You've heard it before: out of sight, out of mind. Turns out to be true in experiments about eating habits. Maybe when you were a kid you heard someone make fun of another kid for being on the "see-food" diet - because they eat everything they see.

Most of us are on see-food diets to come degree, according to Brian Wansink, Ph.D. in his book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. This is one of my favorite books because it made me aware of all the places where I was subconsciously being tricked into eating or eating more than I thought or wanted... We can lose POUNDS simply by getting conscious about where and what kind of food we leave out for ourselves to see on a daily basis.

"Out of sight is out of mind. If the candy dish sits on your desk, you consistently have to make a heroic decision whether you will resist the chocolate that has been giving you the eye all day. They easy solution is to lose the dish, or replace the candy with something you personally don't like. Same thing with the cookie jar. It can either make a debut at a local yard sale, or the cookies can be replaced with fruit.
You can also make the see-food diet work for you. Make healthy foods easy to see, and less healthy foods hard to see. Fruit bowls can replace cookie jars. Healthy foods can migrate to the front, eye-level shelves of the refrigerator." (p.81)

Given that the food you see is the food you're mostly likely to reach for, leave apples, clementines and bananas and a bowl of almonds out on the kitchen counter. Throw away or stash crackers and cookies in the back and tops of your cabinets. Always store tempting foods in your fridge and freezer behind healthy options (put the chocolate pudding behind the fresh cut veggies and hummus).

My doctor's office always has a bowl of "Cuties" out instead of lollipops - love it. Consider doing the same in your office. Your co-workers and your own belly will thank you.

And don't despair if the healthy fair seems to go untouched for a while - Wansink has found that it can take a few weeks for people to adjust to the new normal.

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