In Plain Sight

Happy Monday!  Do you get today off to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?  Kevin has to work today, so I’m considering it a “work day” as well.  Regardless of your work situation, I hope you take time to reflect on what an amazing leader MLK Jr. was and what amazing things he did for our country and our world! 440px-Martin_Luther_King_Jr_NYWTS(picture source)

Yesterday, I headed to the Farmer’s Market to stock up on fruits and vegetables, and I had an absolute blast.  I loved talking to the farmers about their crops (apparently, it’s a great year for produce in Texas, but people are not coming to the Farmer’s Market as frequently as usual since it’s been a bit cold), I loved selecting exactly what I wanted (and yes, I definitely bought a lot more than I planned on since I’m such a sucker for hardworking, kind people who are proud of what they do!), and I loved coming home to unload my goodies and plan out what I could make during the week.  Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 8.34.57 PM

Just the act of going to the Farmer’s Market made me so much more excited about eating my fruits and vegetables for the week.  I savored a fresh orange for a snack … I didn’t load up on football appetizers because I was excited to come home to add in extra kale and zucchini to Amy’s delicious soup … I enjoyed some pomegranate seeds on top of Laura’s mouth-watering dessert.  In fact, I loved my fruits and veggies so much that I got thinking about how this could apply to you for Motivation Monday.   Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 8.39.29 PM motivation monday

There have been many studies showing that when you choose your food, you are more excited to eat it.  Many experts suggest involving children in the grocery shopping and allowing them to pick any produce they choose so they get more excited about consuming fruits and vegetables (this awesome report also shows several other strategies to get kids to default to fruits and veggies).  Well, maybe this means I am childish, but I can tell you firsthand that this works!

On a more practical day-to-day note, I encourage you to keep fruits and vegetables in plain sight so that you are more apt to grab them when you’re looking for a snack or a meal addition.  Did you know that you are three times more likely to eat the food that you see first on your counter, in your refrigerator, or in your pantry, as opposed to the food you see fifth?  And that the average person will eat 92% of what is on their plate, regardless of the caloric content of what is actually served? eat good food from joy bauer - blog(picture source)

So, simply making healthy foods more visible to you, or getting excited about them, can encourage you to eat more healthily, without any additional effort.  Today, I challenge you to:

  • Put produce at eye level in your refrigerator.  I play this trick on Kevin all the time and I’m not even sure he realizes it.  When I have some tomatoes or avocados (his favorites!) that are close to going bad, I move them from the vegetable/ fruit drawers to the eye-level shelves.  You know what?  It works! 
  • Set out a bowl of fruit or vegetables to bring some color to your kitchen. See one of these articles to find out where to store your produce.  If you have some produce that should be stored at room temperature, keep it in plain sight!
  • Rearrange your pantry.  If you have a snack drawer or section of your pantry, move the healthier snacks to the front, so that you see them first.
  • Toss some fruit into your bag.  I always have some “emergency snacks” with me in case I get hungry and can’t find quickly accessible options.  If I toss an apple into my bag instead of a candy bar, I am much more likely to enjoy the fruit!
  • Place some fruit or pre-cut veggies on your desk at work.  You may not even realize you’re hungry (and then end up so hungry that you eat anything in sight), but having healthy options within reach will encourage you to snack on them!
  • Try something new.  If you only buy iceberg lettuce and tomatoes, week in and week out, you’ll think of your salads as a chore.  If you switch it up and try out a new fruit or vegetable every week or every month, you’ll be much more excited to consume it! creating healthy habits2 - blog 1.20.14(picture source)

So tell me in the comments … What strategies do you use to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption?  Does anyone else get so excited to go to the Farmer’s Market?  What’s your favorite fruit or vegetable?

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Comments

  1. says

    Two funny stories:

    First, my middle daughter Emma is a hardcore vegetarian–has been since birth. She would spit out any baby food that had meat in it. Asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, and green beans are her favorite veggies. They are like candy to her–we have to limit her portions at dinner until she finishes the rest of her plate. And I have seriously caught her sneaking leftovers out of the refrigerator! I was watching the sugar video you posted yesterday and there’s a comment about kids and broccoli. Emma overheard and was dumbfounded that there were kids that didn’t like it!

    Second, the idea of fruits and veggies in plain view doesn’t always work. My kids will purposely avoid eating the bananas on the counter hoping they’ll turn brown and we will be forced to make banana bread, ha!
    Robert recently posted…Clothing for the Budget RunnerMy Profile

    • says

      Wow, Emma is every (health-conscious) parent’s dream!!! I’m so impressed that she loves vegetables so much. Do you think it’s anything your wife ate while pregnant, or anything you all did raising her? Whatever it was, way to go! I chuckled at the banana bread story :). Your kids have you figured out!

  2. says

    Love this! I am aiming to fit more in my diet this week. The problem we have is that my husband loves all sorts of things that really aren’t that great for you. He buys them and then they sit in plain site in my cabinet. My goal is to have healthier things around the house as alternatives so I don’t automatically go to the bad ones.
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun recently posted…Weekly Recap: 1/13 – 1/19My Profile

    • says

      We have the same problem over here, Sara :). I think choosing the healthier alternatives most times, and going for the “unhealthy” versions to treat yourself once in a while is a good balance. Always more difficult when it’s sitting around, but I know you can do it!

  3. says

    Confession: I’ve totally been slacking on the famers’ market since the cold weather hit, but I’m dealing with Canadian cold, so I feel like I have an excuse :P I’ve definitely still been getting my veggies in, though! Lots of kabocha, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, baby carrots, and mushrooms in my life, and when it comes to fruits, give them ALL to me… although I’ve been partial to bananas :D
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. the disney side of life .My Profile

    • says

      Yes. Canadian cold is admittedly 800x worse than Texas cold!! I bet your Farmer’s Markets aren’t all that stocked up these days. (In the summer, you can laugh back at me as I’m suffering down here!). Glad you’re still finding your fruits and veggies despite the chill!

    • says

      Me too! I like to just walk around and look at all the fruits and veggies … trying to find new kinds, admiring how they’re laid out, etc. Come down to Texas and we’ll no longer have to be ashamed at how long we sit and stare :).

  4. says

    I just try to ask myself at each time I eat if I can incorporate a fruit or veggie into what I’m eating. If the answer is no I try to take note of if I’ve had enough/will have enough that day. Usually the answer is yes! I am in such a habit of eating a huge salad for lunch and fruit based snacks/breakfasts that it’s honestly second nature at this point. I know that’s not necessarily the case for others!
    Caitlin recently posted…If I’m Being Honest…My Profile

    • says

      I agree with you, Caitlin. A lot of tips I post on here are ones that I found helpful years ago as I began my health journey … and now they tend to be second nature! But a few reminders never hurt, even for us old hats ;)

  5. says

    Hey Megan!

    I’m in your SITS tribe and I am taking at look at your blog today :)

    I love the point you made in this post about making healthy food easily available in your fridge – it seriously makes a huge difference! I’m all about making healthy easier and more accessible. Looking forward to reading more!
    Bridget recently posted…Happy early birthday camera!My Profile

  6. says

    Great tips! Ben always laughs at me when we go grocery shopping because I end up spending 75% of my time by the produce. He will leave me to get whatever else he needs and come back when he’s finished and I’m still in the produce area :)

  7. says

    Honestly I have never been one for the ‘tricks’, I am explicit with when I cook with things like quinoa or kale or whatever, and we have mandated fruits and vegetables for the kids since an early age.

    Last summer our older son went through all of the soda we bought (a 24-pack) in just a few days … we had told him that was for a month. And since I have tried to cut way back on soda, my younger son doesn’t care and my wife was also trying to cut back, that was it until the next month. Now he will never have more than one a day and works to make it last … AND he has become much better about hydration and water!
    Michael Anderson recently posted…Traveling Kids and The History of CommunicationMy Profile

    • says

      Haha on the soda. I used to drink tons of diet soda, but now the thought of drinking a 24-pack in a few days makes my stomach churn! I think it’s an excellent way to teach your kids about allocating what they have. I’m also so interested in how different parents treat mandating vs. encouraging vegetables. I worry about mandating turning into the kids thinking of fruits and veggies as punishment, but I also see it work well for so many people. I don’t think my parents were too harsh about me eating them, and I turned out to like them, but on the flip side, I see a LOT of people whose parents weren’t harsh who still rarely eat them. A toughie, for sure!

      • says

        Well, when I say ‘mandate’ you have to remember that this comes from me who is the king of just plain loving fruits and vegetables of any and all types, and Lisa who wants to eat healthy but is intolerant to about 50% of all foods … so in our case ‘mandate’ means that they WILL eat healthy, but we’ll work together to figure out what works … :)
        Michael Anderson recently posted…Take Care Tuesday: I Am EnoughMy Profile

        • says

          I have no doubt you’ll figure out the right balance! I already take tons of parenting tips from you (for several years in the future … don’t want to get my mom excited if she’s reading this, ha!)

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by, Amanda! Great idea on prepping produce at the beginning of the week. I kind of find it fun and stress-relieving to have to chop veggies for each meal, but part of that is because I’ve been away from my kitchen for so long (I traveled every week, 4 days/ week for my job until 2 weeks ago!). I imagine that in time I’ll get sick of it and become a stronger food-prepper!

  8. says

    Hi from Sydney buddy :)

    I wish we had farmers markets but the ones we have are just those massive generic ones (only 3!) which have multiple vendors there! I like to eat vegetables and fruit seasonally, and take advantage of the Summer ones (berries, stone fruit etc). I love fruit and vegetables regardless so it’s easy to incorporate (or sneak in ;)) Favourite fruit is strawberries and vegetable- cauliflower. Love it.
    Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted…He thinks/She thinks- Changes part 2- BudgetingMy Profile

    • says

      YAY! You made it! I’m so excited for your new journey!! I feel like I’m sending my little brother (which I don’t have) off to start his new life ;). Hmmm … I didn’t realize that Australia didn’t have Farmer’s Markets! I knew there must be some negatives to living there.

  9. says

    Hi Megan! I’m visiting from your SITS tribe. Great tips. In fact I already set out two clementines at my desk so I can avoid the candy machine. Look forward to reading more of your posts. That sugar video from your previous post was very interesting. :)
    Patty recently posted…Weekend QuoteMy Profile

  10. says

    I love when I open my fridge and it’s filled with colorful fruits and veggies and it looks all organized. OK the second part doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. :) I agree that they need to be visible. I almost never put stuff in the bottom drawer because I will totally forget about it. We have a farmer’s market every thursday about one block from my house. One thing that is awesome about California. You can literally find a FM close by every day of the week!

    • says

      Funny you say that, Tonya – I am an organized person in real life, but my refrigerator never really looks that organized. I am VERY possessive of it, though – I won’t let anyone else put away groceries because I always like to know what’s in there, where it is, and monitor our “stock” :). Type A problems! I’m jealous of your nearby Farmer’s Market!

  11. says

    Stopping by from your SITS Tribe! I love this post because it’s helpful in so many ways. I started letting my daughter help me with dinner when she was two and it has been amazing. She loves to help, she gets excited about what we’re making, and she always wants to try the food. That’s, in fact, how she was introduced to broccoli, avocado, tomatoes, green peppers and a few other veggies. And she loves them all! Had I simply put these things on a plate for her to eat I don’t think she would have eaten them. Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to read more.
    Bre & Ree recently posted…stranded on an island with no place to shopMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by! I love the idea of having your daughter in the kitchen from an early age. I’m sure it was a little extra work at the beginning (before she could *really* help), but it sounds like it paid off so much in terms of her preferences!

  12. says

    Good stuff!! I love going to the farmer’s markets around here! So many nice people as well as good food!

    I’ve always liked fruits and many vegetables, though it took a farm for me to actually like Brussels Spouts! Who knew they were so good right off the plant, not like those over ripe supermarket frankensprouts, lol!

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