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Spring Clean Your Table

posted Apr 22, 2015, 8:37 AM by Rachel Griffin   [ updated Nov 4, 2015, 12:38 PM by Julia Quam ]
Where you eat can matter just as much as what you eat. Studies have proven time and time again that individuals and families who sit down to dinner and are focused on eating have better physical and psychological health than their TV-tray-using counterparts. The following are a few ways to spring clean your dining table:

  • USE IT!  Sit down to dinner, at the table, uninterrupted whenever possible.  Keep your table neat and tidy, avoiding piling mail and other items on the table.  If your table isn't clean, you will likely not use it for eating.  Take it a step further and set it nicely.  After the meal, clean up and reset so you are ready to go when it's time to eat again. 
  • Serve up plates in the kitchen for portion control.  Serving meal items in large bowls on the table, "family style", leads to overeating. If the extra food is in the kitchen and out of sight, second helpings may stay off of your plate.  Check out USDA's MyPlate for portion sizes and examples of balanced plates. 
  • When planning meals, think about color and presentation.  We eat with our eyes first, but our bodies reap the benefits of the healthful hues.  The deeper the color, the more nutrient-rich the food is.  A variety of colors=a variety of nutrients.  Try grilled salmon with fruit salsa, roasted potatoes, and steamed broccoli or a tex-mex rice bowl with brown rice, black or pinto beans, corn, sauteed bell pepper, tomato, and avocado.  Both meals are packed with flavor and nutrients, but they first draw us in with their rainbow of color.  
  • Put your fork down between bites and enjoy the conversation. Or, if you're eating alone, remove all distractions to help you be more present at the meal. Chew slowly, enjoying the flavor and texture of each bite. Eating more slowly will help you to feel satisfied earlier in the meal, which may lead to eating less and not feeling over-stuffed. 
  • Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues.  Stop eating when you are satisfied but not full. It takes ~25 minutes for our bodies to feel satisfied...and that is long enough to do some serious over eating!  If we are rushing through our meals and not paying attention, we will very likely eat past the point of comfortably full, which will likely lead to discomfort and possible weight gain. 


Now that you have the tools to Spring Clean your pantry, refrigerator, freezer and dining table, you can transform your entire eating environment into a place that makes the healthy choice the easy choice everyday!

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