Home food environment affects your weight?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
The home food environment, which includes the availability and accessibility of healthy and unhealthy foods, plays a major role in a person’s eating behaviors and overall weight status.
WHAT WE KNOW
Through understanding the home food environment and its relationship to eating behaviors, individuals can develop skills and strategies to encourage healthy eating within their families.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS
A recent study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior explored the home food environment and its impact on eating behaviors of overweight and obese women. The study found that the home provides families with social and physical cues for eating, exercise and leisure time, which can trigger positive or negative behaviors related to weight status. Researchers asked the women about food available in their homes, dietary intake, grocery shopping frequency, food preparation practices, and how often meals were eaten outside of the home.
- Having more fruits and vegetables available in the home is associated with higher levels of fruit and vegetable intake.
- Having high-calorie, unhealthy snacks in the home, and in visible locations, is associated with a higher dietary fat intake.
- Healthy food preparation methods favorably impacts lower fat intake. When food is prepared within the home, rather than purchased from a restaurant or convenience store, the chances of consuming high-fat and high-calorie meals decreases.
- Grocery shopping at least once a week is an important element to a healthy diet. The more frequently you buy fruits and vegetables, the more likely you are to eat them and purchase more.
To make sure you eat healthy snacks throughout the day, place fruits and vegetables in prominent places in your home. For example, don’t hide all your produce in the fridge! Instead, place a bowl of fresh apples and bananas on the kitchen table. This will help make fruits and veggies your automatic go-to snack, replacing less healthy, higher-calorie options. Also, high-calorie meals that are eaten quickly and on the go can have a negative impact on weight status, leading to being overweight or obese.
Avoid the pressure of choosing what to eat in a pinch when you’re pressed for time and hungry by planning meals ahead of time. Healthy meal preparation provides you with a tasty alternative that’s lower in both fat and calories.
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Kegler, M.C., I. Alcantara, R. Haardorfer, et al., (2014). “The Influence of Home Food Environments on Eating Behaviors of Overweight and Obese Women.” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
, 46(3), 188-196. Read Abstract