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How Your Environment Affects Your Health

By Elaine Guinan on September 14, 2017

As you go through your pantry, do you reach for a hearty snack or a quick sugary fix? If it’s the latter, there may be some simple changes that can help you create a more wholesome environment.  

When it comes to changing habits, the most important thing is to make it as simple as possible- we as humans will always look for the quickest fix, especially when hungry. One study of teenagers confirmed this, showing that the most frequent snackers were the participants who agreed that they had easy access to unhealthy foods at home and when shopping. To make this less easy, avoid buying foods you don’t want to eat- save them for a trip out where you can indulge as a once-off and then continue with your healthy eating.

To avoid getting back into those late night ice cream binges, learn to eat for satiation rather than brief satisfaction. Cooking and eating a well balanced meal can help avoid trailing cravings.

Another simple step you can take is reducing the portions that you serve yourself, and by using smaller plates and cups. There is strong evidence that that people consume more food and drink when offered larger-sized portions or tableware than when offered smaller, so reducing the portions you serve yourself may help you reduce your intake, aiding weight loss.

We are also influenced by those around us when it comes to food choices. Studies have shown that if we are expected to eat unhealthy foods, or if those around us have unhealthy eating habits, we are likely to copy this behavior. While we are not saying you have to give up your friendships, it may be that you can take steps around this. For example, if you’re friends always eat at an unhealthy place, why not suggest a healthier restaurant or eat before you meet to avoid the temptation.

While it can be harder to change the greater environment you are in, being aware of the influence location has on your intake may help. The Annual Review of Public health highlights the fact that physical settings within a community has a weighted influence on the population’s food choice. Although pricing and location can be limiting, searching for local vendors or farmers markets may  pay off in the long run. Click here to search for farmers markets in your area.

We hope these tips helped. Found an environmental hack that has helped you keep on track? Let us know in the comments!

 

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