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Creating Healthy Home Zones
from Your Kitchen to Couch

slim by design?

See the full-sized infographic
Courtesy of William Morrow
an imprint of HarperCollins,
Illustrations Mitch Blunt,
Designed by Headcase Design

You probably know that the size of your glass, plate and bowl can influence how much you eat and therefore how much you weigh. That’s important because being a healthy weight means a lower risk for 8 different cancers, including colorectal, postmenopausal breast and endometrial.

Down-sizing your glass and plate, and choosing plates and bowls that contrast with the color of your food are quick and easy ways to help you cut calories. Now, in a new book, Slim by Design, behavioral expert Brian Wansink unveils more research-based strategies to make your environment – at home and away – conducive to eating less and choosing healthier food.

Here are some tips to help you put his research into practice and redesign the places you’re most likely to eat – kitchen, dining room and TV room (couch). No remodeling needed.

1. Your Cancer-Fighting Kitchen

Put colorful ready-to-eat fruits and veggies front, center and visible. Move other foods out of sight.

We tend to eat the foods we see first because it’s more convenient. If you have to find the cookies behind the oatmeal box, rice and flour in the cupboard, you’re less tempted to randomly grab a cookie. But keep a bowl of pears on the kitchen counter or sliced red peppers and carrots on the top shelf of the refrigerator, and you’re more likely to pick up and eat a pear, carrot stick or a red pepper on your way in or out.

2. A Just Right Portions Kitchen Table

Remove serving dishes from the dinner table. (Unless it's veggies.)

If you have to make an effort to get seconds, for example, getting up from the table and walking to the serving bowl, you’re less likely to refill your plate. According to Wansink, you may eat up to 19% less food if the serving bowls aren’t on the table. Put the meat, bread and pasta on the sideboard or leave them on the kitchen counter. On the other hand, power up your veggie servings by plopping that large serving bowl of fresh spinach, mandarin oranges and toasted almonds salad on the table for everyone to see.

3. The Good-for-You Family Room Couch (& TV)

Keep water handy, bowls small, and put the snacks in another room.

Do you know how much you eat while watching TV? Most of us don't because this habit pretty much defines mindless eating. You’re more likely to be engaged in the show or sporting event, not the food. And the commercials are often cues to eat and drink. Once again, limiting the damage here is all about convenience, or inconvenience. Keep a bottle or glass of water next to you and if you eat, use a small bowl or plate for your snacks. Beverages (other than water), chips, candy and other snack foods should stay in the kitchen so you must make an effort – standing and walking – to refill your small bowl. Better yet, do some jumping jacks or push-ups in the family room instead of refilling your snacks. Of course, by now you know - you can keep the veggie and fruit platter in the family room.

Once you've tried a few of these at home, you can extend your healthy environment to your workplace. For ideas check out our blog: Making those Tempting Office Treats Healthy.

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