Healthy Eating: The Painless Way to Eat Healthy
We all want our families to eat healthy foods. However, the process of getting them on board with the idea can be tough. Here are a couple of easy ideas to painlessly "nudge" your family into some better eating habits.
How to Eat Healthy the Painless Way
1. Make the good things easy and the bad things hard.
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On the other hand, keep the less-healthy foods like chips, crackers, and ice cream in inconvenient places. Only the most hard-core snackers are going to get down on their knees or up on a chair to fish the cookies out of the dark corner of a cupboard. They'll eat them less frequently if you make them work for it.
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When serving meals, make a large bowl of nice, brightly colored veggies and keep it on the table. Make a small bowl of the pasta and other starchy foods and leave them over by the stove. We're lazy creatures—we are more inclined to go for the easy reach than walk across the room for the good stuff.
2. Outsmart the kids.
Let's face it, these little people are pretty gullible. Let's take advantage of that. Back in the 50's when Popeye was popular, spinach consumption was WAY up because kids believed it would give them insane muscles. How can you cash in on that? Broccoli can become "Dinosaur Trees," peas can become "Power Pills" and impart imaginary super powers, and how about Rain Forest Smoothies? Use your imagination and make it fun!
Kids also like to get involved, and they are much more likely to eat food if they have played a part in preparing it. Hey, that's free labor—go for it! Start a vegetable garden with your kids, get them cooking, make bread dough animals, whatever it takes. Let them think it was all THEIR idea and everyone benefits.
Change your comfort foods. When we were growing up and we were sick or feeling sad, what did our moms feed us? Grilled cheese, soups, meatloaf, etc. After the recital, the championship game, or the school play, what did we go out for? Ice cream, hot dogs, or pizza.
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You have a choice to continue these traditions with your own kids, or make your own. A turkey sandwich on pita is just as comforting if it's served with a warm hug and a healthy dose of sympathy. And a flashlight walk or a sleepout in the backyard makes just as nice a reward as an ice cream cone or a hot dog.
3. Be sneaky with portion sizes.
Here's a secret: if you serve food in a slightly smaller bowl, your family will automatically eat less and won't even notice. It's a great excuse to invest in a whole new set of smaller dinnerware. Same thing with the number and variety of dishes. If you serve five things instead of three, your family will automatically eat more—it's just human nature. Scientists have studied this for years. If a bowl has 10 colors of M&M's, you'll eat more of them than if it only has seven colors. We're weird that way.
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Same thing with large packages of food. We try to save money with those Costco-sized packages of food, but our brain just wants to use it up faster so we unconsciously eat more of it—a LOT more. Invest in some Rubbermaid containers to store smaller amounts of food and keep the large bags out of sight. Then, watch the portion sizes shrink—no muss, no fuss!
Disclosure: Many of these tips came from a fascinating book I read recently called Mindless Eating – Why We Eat More than We Think by Brian Wansink. I recommend you read it to learn even more about this helpful and interesting topic.
What are you doing to help your family eat more healthy.
Adrian's Crazy Life is just that, bits and pieces of my crazy life—my job, my three fabulous boys, my papercrafting business, my four grandkids, the whole enchilada. I'm always going 90 miles an hour with my hair on fire, but I wouldn't have it any other way.I love to give advice of all kinds, so I have lots and lots of posts on my site about decluttering, managing your finances, parenting, and whatever else I feel like an expert on that day. C'mon over and visit me at AdriansCrazyLife.com
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