Recently new dietary guidelines were published urging Americans to make small shifts towards healthier eating patterns. Since it is January, the month of New Years resolutions, I want to write a post about 4 simple yet impactful family shifts or changes that can lead families to better eating.
Display a fruit bowl
Make a goal to purchase and display a fruit bowl for your family in a high traffic location. It is what we call "mommy advertising". Businesses spend billions of dollars a year on advertising. They know that even if a consumer does not stop and think about an advertisement consciously they will still subconsciously absorb the message and are more likely to buy a product or service in the future.
As parents we can take a lesson from the big guys and apply this to our family as well. A delicious fruit bowl displayed in the middle of a counter or table is a type of advertising for healthy eating and alters our family environment for the better. Family members will eventually give into the healthy fruits that call to them from the fruit bowl. Remember to think small for small mouths and appealing not appalling. Buy fruits that scream delicious and will tempt even the unhealthiest eaters.
Drink more water
Yes, yes we all know we can be better at this. However, drinking more water is a shift that is very impactful since it not only can replace bad habits but will immediately improve our health within only a few hours of implementing it. Carrying a water bottle will help satisfy cravings and offer a physical substitute for people that always feel like they need to be bending their elbows as they do with constant snacking.
Get more sleep
Did you know that sleep affects your hunger hormones? Studies show that lack of sleep will increase grehlin (your hunger hormone) and decrease Leptin (you full hormone). So in other words if you lack sleep not only will you be hungrier but it will take you longer to get full which the perfect formula for overeating! So get 7-10 hours of sleep as an adult and you will feel the difference in your waist line.
Offer a pre-cut, afterschool or pre-meal veggie tray
This is the best kept secret of some of the fittest families. Having a tray full of pre-cut vegetables during the times of your family's greatest hunger attacks is a sneaky way to help them eat better. If your family is like mine they swarm and circle the kitchen like sharks as I am either cooking dinner or right after school or church. In these moments I need to buy more time for meal preparation and I don't mind if they spoil their appetite as they are waiting on red peppers, carrots, celery, crisp green beans or other fresh vegetables. Have these pre-cut in advance and bring them out in a moments notice. This practice will help your family steer away from other easy grabs like crackers or slices of bread.