Often feelings about nutrition are focused around good and bad foods. Donuts…bad. Bacon…bad. It is no surprise then, that we often view our inability to follow a ‘good’ diet as a failure, a lack of personal will to make the choices supporting goals. However, eating is much more complicated than just making a choice between soda and water. The environment (ie, where people live, work, and play) is filled with foods that are less nutrient dense. Just getting a tank of gas can be difficult since many gas stations carry tempting, and often nutrient poor, foods and beverages.
A few ideas to support nutrition goals:
- Make note of situations that lead to selection of less nutrient dense foods, such as, grabbing a candy bar after filling the car with gas. Try selecting another snack, pack a snack before leaving home or reassure oneself that the candy will still be there the next time.
- Place whole fruits, veggies, and nuts on the counter at home or work and treats out of sight in a cabinet or refrigerator.
- People consume more vegetables and fruits when these are at eye level in the refrigerator rather than hidden in a drawer (AKA the rotter).
- Place tempting (non-nutrient dense) items in a less frequently opened cabinets or on high or low shelves. Out of sight might mean out of mind.
- Leave extra food in the kitchen rather than on the table (exception: raw vegetables), making it necessary to get up from the table to access a second serving.
- Consider situations that make it difficult to make choices consistent with goals (eg, restaurants or after a pre-dinner glass of wine) and make the decisions in advance if possible.
In an article in the Washington Post, there are additional recommendations for success in 2020!
Happy and healthful eating,
Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN