4 Tips For Creating A Healthy Food Environment

by Laura N. Brown, MS, RDN, LD, ACSM-CPT

Last Updated: March 16, 2021

The brutal combination of a global pandemic and winter weather likely has you home more than you ever could have imagined. As we work and play from home, we may wander into our kitchen more. Don’t fall victim to mindless snacking! Instead, set yourself up for success and create a healthy food environment by following these four simple tips:
  1. Flaunt colorful produce.
    Place shelf-stable fruits like bananas, apples, and citrus fruits on your countertop. Not only are the bright colors aesthetically pleasing, but their eye-catching placement will also serve as a reminder to grab them as a healthy snack option. Keeping produce visible can also help decrease food waste, as a browning banana is a cue to gobble it up or move it into the freezer so it can later be used as a smoothie ingredient.
  2. Store precut vegetables in clear containers.
    Often the key to healthy eating is preparation! With minimal time to prepare meals and snacks, you will be more likely to grab veggies if they are ready to go. When returning from the grocery, take 10 minutes to wash and cut vegetables like bell peppers and broccoli, and store them in a clear glass container in your refrigerator. You can further cut down on prep time by purchasing bagged vegetables like baby carrots or even a vegetable tray!
  3. Make healthier snack food visible.
    Consider placing nutritionally sound snack options in clear or wired baskets on your countertop, at eye level in your pantry, or even on top of your refrigerator. If you want to munch on something salty and crunchy, popcorn is a great choice, as it’s whole-grain, low in calories but jam-packed with fiber. Angie’s Boom Chicka Popcorn and Kroger’s 94% Fat-Free Microwave Popcorn are go-to favorites. If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, Simple Truth Freeze-Dried Strawberries may do the trick. An entire bag delivers 6 grams of fiber and 100% of your daily recommended intake for vitamin C. Consider pairing with plain Greek yogurt for a well-balanced snack that will keep you full for hours.
  4. Out of sight, out of mind.
    We all have pleasure foods - those foods that taste delicious but may not be the most nourishing choices for our body. Do NOT feel guilty about enjoying those foods! Rather than having them front and center with the healthier snack foods, consider storing them in a solid basket in the back of your pantry. When you decide you want to indulge in your special treat, read the nutrition label to determine the portion size and make yourself a plate/pour yourself a bowl. Enjoy with zero guilt!

Remember, food is not just about nutrition; it is also about family, traditions, culture, joy, and more! All foods can and should have a place in our diet. By following the tips above, you can create an environment that promotes eating nutritious foods more often while saving other foods for special occasions or when you really want them.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Laura N. Brown, MS, RDN, LD, ACSM-CPT

Laura N. Brown, MS, RDN, LD, ACSM-CPT

Laura’s food philosophy is quite simple: there is no such thing as bad foods, just incorrect portion sizes! All foods have a place in the diet and should be enjoyed guilt free. Laura is both a dietitian and personal trainer with a diverse background working with children, adolescents, athletes and more. She even had a 3-year stint as a performing artist singing and rapping about healthy foods! As a mom of a young toddler, Laura understands the challenge of balancing a busy schedule with health goals. For fun, Laura enjoys hiking with her dog and family and jamming out to some good showtunes.