In Home Food Environment

The food environment is any context or area (zone) where you are exposed to food.  Five zones account for more than 75% of what we and our families eat (Wanskink, 2014).

5 Zones 

Home

Restaurants

Grocery stores

Workplace

Your kids’ schools

Wansink addresses each zone in his book – Slim By Design (2014). Strategies to improve eating behaviors are provided for each zone. The primary intent of the strategies is make it easier to eat nutritious foods, while making it less convenient to consume non-nutritious foods. Environmental cues (various cues) impact eating behavior in an array of contexts.

Tip: Structure the environment- easier to eat better- little cognitive effort – nutritious foods become more tempting and non-nutritious foods less tempting

In-Home Food Environment

The primary intent of this article is to address the In-Home Food Environment. Restructuring the in home food environment involves structuring the home, so it becomes nutrition friendly. That is, it makes it more conducive to eating nutritious foods. The H-Assessment: Home Food Environment (2015)  is a modified version of Wansink’s- In-Home Slim-by-Design Self-Assessment Scorecard- (Wansink, 2014, pp. 60-63). The Assessment list contains 64 items.  The aim is modify different areas of the home where food consumption is likely.

Primary goals regarding In-Home Food Environment: restructuring the food environment to make nutritious foods more tempting while making non-nutritious foods less tempting, and also providing strategies that will assist individuals with being attentive to what is being eaten (minimize distractions).

Excerpts  from H-Assessment: Home Food Environment:

Each true statement receives a check-mark. Add the check-marks when assessment is complete. The more check-marks you receive the better.  Strive to set up the home food environment to maximize the number of check-marks.

Home Food Environment addresses:

Kitchen – Refrigerator – Freezer

Dishware – Pantry – Counter

Dining Table – TV Room – Home Office

Sample items from Assessment:

Kitchen: No television in kitchen – No comfortable chairs or other sitting devices in the kitchen

Refrigerator: Nutritious options are in see through containers or clear wrap – Nutritious options are in see through containers or clear wrap – Less nutritious or high calorie options are in opaque containers or aluminum foil

Dining Table: Eating occurs at designated table – Television is turned off during eating

Home office: Snacks are eaten from small bowls or plates – Any empty snack or candy wrappers are left within view until snacking is over.

The items presented above are just a few of the 64 items used for the assessment. Key points from assessment: Modify different areas of the home where food consumption is likely – Make nutritious foods more tempting while making non-nutritious foods less tempting – Be attentive to what you are eating, minimize distracters – Strive to maximize number of checks on the list

In home food environment assessments are now available for residents in central KY. and surrounding areas.

Jamie Hale