When you're home, how often do you wander to the fridge or pantry and take a peek inside to see what there is to eat? Even if you've done it a few times already that day, don't you continue to hold out hope somewhere deep down inside - that this time - something new will magically appear that strikes our fancy and hits the imaginary 'spot!' Something will appear that is both healthy and delicious, calorie-free yet indulgent all at the same time...!
Now...picture when you're at a party and the fruits and veggies are all cut up and laid out beautifully on a tray or in a pretty bowl. How much more likely are you to add some of these delicious looking morals to your plate?.... What's more - how much more likely are you to eat the healthy foods in this situation than when those fruits or vegetables are closed away in the crisper drawer waiting for you to find, wash, peel and cut them...?
The point is - a huge part of eating is visual stimulation and convenience. (There's a reason we agree to pay more when the snack food industry pre-packages perfect portions for us rather than doing it ourselves.)
Therefore, making healthier choices more readily available and more visually appealing you can drastically increase the number of times you reach for a healthier snack!
According to a study by Nestle the visual appeal of foods actually impacts the taste of the food as well:
“The energy content of food is not only assessed in the mouth or after consumption, but an estimation of the energy content is already established in the brain 200 milliseconds after looking at the food.”
There have also been numerous studies linking the visual appeal of food and how it affects people's buying habits.
All in all - if an appealing visual presentation of food is enough to influences and purchases, it’s no wonder it’s enough to affect our eating habits!
Below are some tips on how to re-arrange your pantry and fridge to improve you and your family's snacking choices.
What to do:
Place healthy foods front and center in the fridge and pantry so they are the first thing you see.
Use glassware or saran wrap that allows you to see the fruit or vegetables inside.
Make these healthy foods easily accessible. For example: Wash and cut up fruits and veggies so they are ready to grab and eat. (And again, place them in a bowl with clear saran wrap so see the colorful and ready to eat fruit and veggies right away.)
‘Out of sight, out of mind’ – place higher calorie foods in the fridge drawers or in the top, bottom, or back of the pantry so it’s not in plain sight.
Be sure to buy a colorful assortment of fruits, veggies and other healthy snacks. - The more colorful - the more visually appealing!
Prepare ready-to-eat portions of healthy foods in advance so you can grab them before leaving the house. Get the Tupperware with one large spot for veggies and one small spot for low-fat dip.
Place a bowl out on the counter with an assortment of apples, oranges, pears and bananas. Seeing the fruit each time you enter the kitchen can remind you to grab a healthy snack on your way out the door and even keep you from going to the pantry at all!
Remember, eating involves more than just taste - make sure that you are appealing to your visual senses just as often and you'll improve your diet immediately!