4 Tips for Creating a Healthy Food Environment

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

It can be easy to fall victim to grabbing less-nutritious snack items when you’re in a hurry or don’t feel like putting a lot of time and effort into preparing a healthier option! 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’ll be more likely to grab veggies if they’re ready to go. When returning from the grocery store, 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 since it’s whole grain, low in calories and jam-packed with fiber. Angie’s Boom Chicka Popcorn and Kroger Brand 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 bodies. 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 eat these items, determine the portion size that’s right for you and make yourself a plate or pour yourself a bowl. Enjoy with zero guilt!

Remember, food is not just about nutrition; it’s also about family, traditions, culture, joy and more! All foods can and should have a place in our diets. 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.

Explore more healthy living advice from our team of experts.

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

4 Tips for Creating a Healthy Food Environment

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

It can be easy to fall victim to grabbing less-nutritious snack items when you’re in a hurry or don’t feel like putting a lot of time and effort into preparing a healthier option! 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’ll be more likely to grab veggies if they’re ready to go. When returning from the grocery store, 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 since it’s whole grain, low in calories and jam-packed with fiber. Angie’s Boom Chicka Popcorn and Kroger Brand 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 bodies. 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 eat these items, determine the portion size that’s right for you and make yourself a plate or pour yourself a bowl. Enjoy with zero guilt!

Remember, food is not just about nutrition; it’s also about family, traditions, culture, joy and more! All foods can and should have a place in our diets. 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.

Explore more healthy living advice from our team of experts.

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