Don't count on willpower! Instead, make things easy on yourself and your family by controlling your environment. To increase the likelihood of eating healthfully, make your food tasty, accessible and convenient:
* Clean, chop and store fruits and vegetables in plastic containers next to healthful dips. For the kids, keep them at eye level in the fridge so they're easy to grab. (Or, if you're pressed for time, buy fruits and vegetables already cleaned and chopped at the salad bar.)
* Make several-serving batches of delicious entrees, soups and salads, store them in plastic serving-sized containers in your fridge or freezer to prevent that stop for fast food on the way home.
* Weigh and measure foods before cooking or portioning at the dinner table. You can't overeat it if you haven't cooked it. Avoid serving "family style."
* Eat, then shop! Don't go grocery shopping hungry and always go with a list to prevent impulse purchasing.
* Minesweep for calorie bombs! If you can't have just one cookie or one chip, keep them out of the house to avoid temptations.
* Quality, not quantity. Splurge on smaller amounts of your favorite expensive healthy delicacies such as raspberries, hearts of palm, wild salmon or crab meat instead of buying supersized but lower quality foods; those extra calories get stored as excess body fat.
* Buy the gadgets you'll need: nonstick pans, a heavy-duty stock pot, food scale, measuring cups and spoons, plastic baggies of all sizes and plastic containers that go from freezer to microwave.
* Each healthful and delicious meal deserves your entire attention: Overeating is inevitable if you're distracted by reading, working or watching TV. Sit at your dining or kitchen table without distractions and make eye contact and conversation with your family members while you eat.
-- Katherine Tallmadge