In a recent issue of New Scientist, we read an article about eating that echoed points we’ve made ourselves: if you want you and your family to eat healthy food, have healthy food around you. Now our point is backed up by Science!
The article, “Easy as Pie” summarized some research by pychologist Brian Wansink. Dr. Wansink put a lot of study into what people do that helps them eat healthier meals. Even if we don’t always do these things ourselves, it all made perfect sense.
Although we don’t obsess about portion sizes and such at our house, we do try to encourage healthy eating habits. Too much snacking and too big portions can really add up. Spoiler Alert! We’re not twenty any more, so those extra bits tend to stick with us a bit more easily than they did when we were young’uns.
Some of the research really triggered our interests in psychology:
- Plates. We love our Fiesta plates. But did you know which color plate you use might affect how much you put on it. It depends on the food and the plate. If you have high contrast between your plate color and the food, you’ll take less. So use light colored plates for dark meals, and dark plates for light colored foods. It will help resolve any issue with too large portions.
- Where you serve from makes a difference too. If you keep your dinner serving dishes on the side-boy or on the stove, you’ll take less than if you pass the food at the table. Also, smaller serving spoons helps you take a smaller portion. This could come in handy, if you have unexpected guests and need to stretch a meal.
- The food that’s in sight is the food you’re more likely to eat- a point we’ve raised in past posts. So fruit on the table becomes a snack, chips stashed in the cupboard- maybe less so. Salad greens that are out at dinner are more likely to be eaten. Sugar on the counter is more likely to go into your coffee than sugar stored out of view.
- If over pouring alcohol is a concern for you, consider buying taller, skinnier glassware. Even pro bartenders over-pour when given short, wide glasses of the same volume as tall skinny ones. The bartenders will do this even after you point out their over pouring. So if you want to keep the drinks light, use taller glasses.
These little tips won’t instantly turn us all into svelte gods and goddesses, but paying some attention to where and how food is served and stored in your home might help you stick to whatever healthy eating goals you want to reach.