Why create a healthy food environment in your home? Every day, decisions we make about food are influenced by hundreds of factors, many of them subconscious. For example, an open box of cookies on the counter is more tempting than an apple in your crisper.
Having a healthy food environment at home will make it easier to choose healthy options and stay on track with habits that support your health goals.
Here are a few steps you can take to set up your home for success.
How to Build a Healthy Food Environment
1 – Clear Your Home of Less-healthy Food
These foods are okay in moderation, but they can be enjoyed outside of the house in a fun and empowering way. Go through your kitchen fridge, freezer, pantry, cabinets and counters to toss out foods that aren’t helping you meet your health goals.
2 – Put Healthy Foods in Plain Sight
Keep grab-n-go fruit on the counter instead of snack foods so they are easily accessible. Consider moving your refrigerated fruit to a shelf at eye-level instead of keeping it in the crisper. Vice versa, move less healthy foods to the crisper so they aren’t always in your line of sight.
3 – Find Healthy Substitutions
Feeling deprived of your favorite foods can make you miserable and resentful. Instead, experiment with healthier alternatives. Here are some examples:
- Calorie-controlled frozen yogurt bars vs high-calorie ice cream novelties
- Sparkling water vs soda or fruit juice
- Skinny popcorn vs chips and crackers
- Dessert hummus vs pudding cups or ice cream
4 – Clean and Organize
A messy kitchen can make it hard to find healthy choices when you are hungry or short on time. It also makes it hard to locate whether or not you need something from the grocery store. Give your kitchen a new year makeover and organize your food storage areas so you can always locate what you need without distraction.
5 – Eat at Your Kitchen Table
Eating at your kitchen table without distractions is a way to eat more mindfully and enjoy time with your family. Eating on the couch while watching shows or movies can encourage mindless eating and consuming more calories than intended.
6 – Keep Healthy Foods Readily Available
When you are hungry and in a pinch, it’s important to have healthy foods on-hand so you don’t make hunger-controlled choices. This means keeping ready-to-go-snack foods in your kitchen such as fruit paired with nut butter, hummus and carrots, lunch meat and cheese roll-ups, etc. It may also help to keep pre-made freezer meals on-hand (something you’ve cooked in advance) for busy weeknights when you don’t have time to prepare food.
Turning your home into a healthy food environment can set you up for success and confident decision-making. Plus, it feels good to be organized and empowered!