Improve Family Nutrition by Creating Positive Memories
Any successful real estate agent will tell you that the chances of making a sale rise dramatically if homeowners trying to sell their properties do something as simple as leaving a freshly baked apple pie or loaf of bread on the kitchen counter just before a showing. Fresh baked cookies are also very effective. Why? Because people associate such foods with positive childhood memories, making it easier for them to emotionally bond with the house they are viewing.
The same principle is applicable in the arena of improving family nutrition. According to the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, making a concerted effort to create positive sights, sounds, and memories during meals can help to implement positive attitudes about healthy eating among all family members. In short, the Academy believes that how and where a family eats is just as important as what it eats.
Negative Perceptions Abound Everywhere
In order to understand how positive memories can improve family nutrition, it is helpful to look at current perceptions. If you are someone who does not necessarily practice healthy nutrition right now, stop and think about the kinds of thoughts that come to mind whenever someone mentions healthy eating. If you are like many other people, you might think things like:
- Healthy food has little or no flavor.
- Eating healthy means giving up foods I enjoy.
- People who eat healthily have to spend hours in the kitchen.
- Healthy eating means spending a lot more on food purchases.
These are just four of the common perceptions people have about healthy eating that are not necessarily true. There are others as well. The point is, the person who has a negative perception of healthy eating is also the person who is probably not going to take the steps necessary to improve family nutrition. But how about the person with a positive perception?
Change Perception through Positive Memories
Let’s face it; trying to implement a well-balanced family nutrition strategy within a home that has never done anything like it before can be a challenge. The first few weeks of healthy eating often results in plenty of moaning and groaning, unnecessary jokes about the food being eaten, and plenty of temptation to secretly snack on unhealthy foods between meals.
The Iowa Academy suggests taking the time to ‘savor’ healthy eating. That starts with concentrating on recipes that feature flavor is much as they do nutrition. For example, putting a bowl of steamed green beans on the table and telling the family to eat hearty isn’t likely to garner much of a positive reaction. But prepare those same beans by roasting them in the oven with a sprinkle of garlic, and you’re likely to see more enthusiasm.
In addition to flavor, parents can make a concerted effort to regain the art of the family meal around the dinner table. Rather than everyone eating on the go, sitting down together for good food and good
conversation is paramount to creating positive memories. Take the time to laugh, tell stories, and get to know one another in the dining room.
Finally, teaching the kids how to cook healthy meals is another way to create positive memories. They will cherish the time spent with mom and dad in the kitchen for as long as they live. And if you let them create a recipe or two of their own, you will all but guarantee at least a few positive memories of healthy eating – memories that will make a big difference in the future.