By Daphne Baldwin Kornrich, MS, RDN, CSOWM, CDN
Being in control of our food environment can be daunting to say the least. Trying to make healthy choices can be overwhelming due to the overabundance of unhealthy food choices, relentless advertising, and our own relationship with food. We eat when we are happy, sad, stressed, bored, celebrating and yes, when we are hungry. Throw in a pandemic and it can become even more overwhelming. One way we can control our food environment is to start with where we have some control.
Let’s start with our kitchen!
- Is our kitchen free of clutter, clean and an inviting place to food prep and eat and enjoy our meals?
- Keep clutter off the counter and replace cookie and candy jars with fruit bowls. Change the display of the beautiful colors of fruit as if you were changing flowers in a vase.
- Organize your refrigerator to have healthy options in plain sight. Try having cut up veggies with some humus or guacamole for that in-between snack rather that chips.
- Keep staple heathy options available such as eggs, yogurt, fruits and veggies.
- Keep trigger foods out of site and mind. If you are craving ice cream take a ride and get it at the ice cream store rather than the freezer.
- Always have water in plain sight whether in a water cooler, a bottle or a pitcher. Try adding fruit or herbs to a water pitcher which may make hydration more enticing.
- Stock your pantry with healthy staple items such as beans, nuts and whole grains. Store less healthier options in a more inconvenient spot.
- Make sure you have some herbs and spices available to add flavor to your recipes without all the added sugar and salt.
- Invest in some measuring tools to focus on portion control which will help eliminate some of our portion distortion.
Using smaller plates with contrasting colors has been shown to decrease portions. See if having your fettuccini alfredo on a blue or red plate helps you eat less than on a white plate.
- Food prep and planning is essential to having the food items and ingredients available to prepare meals that you and your family enjoy! It’s important to set up some time in our schedule to start prepping.
- Start cooking more, which will help us have control of ingredients and portions and is a way for us to move more while in the kitchen.
- Let’s treat ourselves by having a table set up with pretty plates, glasses and silverware. Try turning on some soothing music and we may find that we become more mindful of our behaviors. It may be just slowing down our eating or just enjoying the moment!
Remember that we want to be in control of food and not have food be in control of us. No food is off limits, it’s just realizing that moderation and being mindful of our food choices are key. Let’s learn to ask ourselves if having a certain food is worth it. If so, let’s sit down and mangia!
Daphne Baldwin Kornrich, MS, RDN, CSOWM, CDN has been a registered dietitian nutritionist for the past 30 years, working in a wide variety of clinical and outpatient settings. Daphne currently specializes in bariatrics and weight management.