Do New Year’s Resolutions Really Have To Wither By The End Of January?
A few thoughts from Blount's Corporate Dietitian
By Josianne Cadieux, MS, RD
Corporate Dietitian, Blount Fine Foods
According to a recent University of Scranton survey (1) published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, the #1 New Year’s resolution for 2014 was to lose weight. This is probably no surprise if you have read the CDC data (2) stating that 69.2% of US adults are either overweight or obese. The sad reality is, as we publish this in the last week of January, many if not most New Year’s resolutions have already been abandoned.
That notion got me thinking about how we as a food industry might be able to better help our consumers find the willpower to enjoy success.
All good food service and retail operators know the importance of not only understanding what customers want, but also offering them choices to help accomplish their personal goals. You count on your manufacturers to be your partner in bringing the best solutions and choices. We know this because it comes up in conversation with our customers regularly.
With that in mind, I wanted to offer a few tips we developed for our sales team to share with customers. If you are buying, merchandising or preparing menus for customers with weight loss on their minds, here are ten things you and your team might think about:
- Accentuate the Positive
Consumers often focus their weight loss goals on removing something “bad” (e.g. pizza, chocolate, fries) from their diet rather than adding something “good” (e.g. vegetables, fruits, whole grains).
- Give the Gift of Control
Dietitians tell patients to use smaller plates, bowls, and glasses to create the perception of eating the same amount even if portions have been reduced. Offer smaller sizes and single serving options to help customers prevent overeating. Giving customers the option to split a dish or providing to-go containers at the start of the meal can help reduce portion sizes. Retailers and restaurants that fail to do this run the risk that they themselves become what is “forbidden” the next time a diet is planned.
- Encourage moderation
Consumers trying to lose weight by completely eliminating a food or food group are more likely to abandon their effort and gain weight back when they revert to “normal” eating. Encourage your customers to occasionally indulge in small portions of the richer foods they love.
- More Fruits & Veggies, Please!
Your consumers know fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The fact that they don’t eat enough of either is often a case of “I know I should, but…” Overtly remind consumers that most fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which makes them filling, and also naturally low in fat and calories. Whether they buy them fresh or frozen, eat them raw or cooked (in a great soup, of course!), or incorporate them as part of a meal or a snack, upping fruits and vegetables are a powerful way to improve one’s diet.
- Prefer Lean Protein
Lean protein is an important part of any healthy diet. Proteins provide a sense of satiety (fullness) which can help prevent overeating and are needed to build and maintain muscle. Remind your guests and shoppers of the best examples of lean proteins: chicken without skin, white meat turkey, fish, soy, beans, lentils, non-fat yogurt, skim milk, low fat cheese, eggs, 93% or higher ground beef.
- Make Half Your Grains Whole
When thinking about menu ingredients, ask your culinary team to consider exploring ways to substitute some refined-grain products with fiber packed whole grain (3) options. They will know how to look for ways to incorporate whole wheat breads and pastas, barley, bulgur, brown rice, wild rice, oats, and quinoa to name a few.
- Keep the Water Flowing
Sometimes being thirsty can be confused for being hungry because the body’s thirst and hunger signals are controlled by the same part of the brain. Again, help consumers by reminding them to stay hydrated throughout the day. Because drinking water before/during meals or when we feel hungry can help maintain satiety, it is never a bad idea for a grocery deli to merchandise bottled water adjacent to the salad bar.
- Want to Slim Down? EAT!It is a common misconception that skipping meals can help someone lose weight. It actually hurts weight loss efforts, especially long term, because it slows down the metabolism. It can’t hurt to remind consumers of this – the worst thing that happens is it looks like a self-serving message, so present it smartly.
- Rest Up – You’ll Need It
Not getting enough sleep may lessen willpower and impair the ability to make good dietary choices, which can have negative effects on weight loss goals.
- Don’t Just Sit There. Get Moving!
Regular physical activity (4) is important for good health and can help you achieve a healthy weight and prevent excess weight gain.
I hope you find these small thought starters helpful in generating discussion within your team about ways that restaurants, foodservice operations and retailers can help consumers meet their wellness goals without hurting your business.
Editor's Note: We will be publishing these columns regularly, if you have a topic you’d like to see us discuss, or a question, please post it below in the comments.
Note 1: http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/