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We all want our families to eat healthier, 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 simple habits to eat healthier without even noticing it.

3 Simple Tips to Eat Healthier

Eat Healthier Tip 1.  Make the good things easy and the bad things hard

Keep fruits and vegetables cut up and available at all times.  Make sure they are positioned to the front of the fridge where they are clearly visible.  Casually leave a tray of healthy snacks out  when your family is watching TV – chances are they will start nibbling on them without even noticing.

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.

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.

Eat Healthier Tip 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 ’bout 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.

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.

Eat Healthier 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 5 things instead of 3, 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 7 colors.  We’re weird that way.

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 pair of books by Brian Wansink. I recommend you read it to learn even more about this helpful and interesting topic.

Mindless Eating

Eating Healthier

 

Slim by Design

Eating Healthier

I also have an entire series of posts that go into this topic more because I find it so fascinating!  Pick which ones suit you best for some great tips.

Sneaky Tricks for Weight Loss – #1: Buffet Eating

Sneaky Tricks for Weight Loss – #2 Redo your Kitchen

Sneaky Tricks for Weight Loss – #3 Manage Snacking

Sneaky Tricks for Weight Loss – #4 Grocery Shopping

Sneaky Tricks for Weight Loss – #5 School Cafeteria

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