Family and Community Development Program

The Family and Community Development program for the Southeast Districts of UAF Extension is led by Sarah Lewis in the Juneau office. Her program areas include:

Food preservation
Home, food & life skills
Home design & energy use
Family emergency preparedness
Local food resources
Food entrepreneurship & small business development

Contact her with questions at 907-523-3280 X1 or at
If she doesn't have the answer, she'll find someone who does.

On Capital Chat this Month...

Let Your Kitchen Help Improve Your Diet!

This month on Capital Chat Sharon and I are discussing research done by Brian Wansink, Ph.D, about how our built environment affects eating habits. Dr. Wansink has been studying, testing, and writing about human eating behavior for many years. He is a professor at Cornell University and the Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. He is the author of Mindless Eating: WHy We Eat More Than We Think, and Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life, as well as more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Adapted from Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life, here are the promised Top 10 FREE things you can do to your kitchen that will help you start or maintain a healthier diet... and even lose weight. Each of these items has research showing an association with higher or lower weight.

10. Don't enter your house through the kitchen, though it might require parking in a different location, or changing long-developed habit. When you come home through the kitchen, you're more likely to stop and have a snack, even if you're not hungry. If a kitchen door is all you have, no problem... just pay special attention to the remaining items on this list.

9. Remove the TV and any lounge chairs from the kitchen. Watching TV and kicking back are perfect times for mindless eating... made worse if food is right there at hand.

8. The only small, convenience appliance that should be visible is the blender. Put the toaster in a cupboard and put the microwave in the pantry, if possible. Appliances for quick food preparation promote quick snacks, usually of convenience foods that are high in sugar and fat (and lower in nutrition per calorie).

7. Downsize your dishware. Use 9-10 inch plates for meals, 16 oz or smaller cereal bowls, 8 oz or smaller snack bowls and juice glasses, and make sure kids under 12 are using kid-sized dishware. The only exception? Water glasses should be 16 oz or bigger.

6. Eat meals at a table in the dining room or kitchen. Serve salad and vegetables family-style, but keep the starches and entrees either in the kitchen or on the stove. Serve only water or milk with meals.

5. Keep no large bottles/containers of any beverage (other than milk or water) in the fridge and no more than one can or single-serve container of soda, juice, or energy drinks in the fridge for each person.

4. Keep pre-cut fruit and vegetables, and other healthy snacks in see-through containers on the center shelf of the refrigerator. Put unhealthy foods and snacks and leftover desserts at the backs of shelves or in refrigerator drawers.

3. Keep a bowl of fruit (at least two kinds) on the counter, within 2 feet of the most common kitchen pathway. This bowl of fruit should be the ONLY food visible in the kitchen, period. Place all cereals, crackers, breads, crackers, nuts and other snacks in the pantry or behind cupboard doors.

2. Never eat food directly from boxes, bags, or other original containers - always serve into a small snack bowl first, then put the original container back behind doors or in the pantry. Your mouth and stomach can't count pieces or measure ounces!

1. Keep a photo of your family or other loved ones on the refrigerator, near the door handle. This just seems to help us make better food choices, even if we don't realize it.


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