Tips to curb mindless eating
Each week a nutritionist from the University of Maryland Medical Center provides a guest post on healthy eating. Have questions or ideas for future topics? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. This week, nutritionist Faith Hicks (pictured) weighs in on mindless eating.
To honor the Thanksgiving food frenzy, I read a book titled "Mindless Eating" by Brian Wansink. The author has dedicated much of his career creating various eating scenarios to figure out what cues in our environment cause us to overeat. Here are some of Wansink’s tips to help keep our splurging tendencies in check:
I’m sure you’ve heard the advice to use smaller plates to help curb how much you eat. However, did you know that serving from a smaller serving bowl might keep you from overeating? Another helpful hint is to dish up your food in the kitchen instead of at the table. You may be less likely to have that second helping of mashed potatoes if you have to walk farther to get it! Consider replacing your drinking glasses with tall, thin ones. You will pour a smaller serving into a taller glass than a short one.
Danger: Food + TV
Watching TV can be a doubly dangerous situation for eating quite a few more chips than you realize. Those vivid, saliva-eliciting food and restaurant ads can prompt a craving for something to munch on when you really are not that hungry. When you focus your attention on a TV show and you happen to be snacking, your brain is not registering the satiety from the snack, causing you to overindulge. Try putting your snack in a bowl, sitting at the table and enjoying it without other distractions.
Healthy Foods: Front & Center
Foods that are easily visible or convenient to eat may prompt you to eat when you aren’t really hungry. Cut up fruits and vegetables and place them in the front of the refrigerator. On the other hand, wrap leftovers in foil and place then further from sight. If you tend to be prompted to eat by the sight of sweets, consider putting the candy dish in the pantry instead of on the coffee table or kitchen island. Better yet, you may want to give the candy dish away!
Hazard: Big Bags
Beware of buying food in large packages to economize. When a pet owner buys a large bag of food, he or she serves their pet a larger portion! Not surprisingly, you consume more cereal or chips from a larger container than from a smaller one. This makes for a diet disaster for warehouse club shoppers. Re-portion foods into smaller bags if those mega packages are too good of a bargain to resist. Consider this the budget-friendly version of those 100-calorie snacks near the register at the grocery store.I hope these small changes in your eating routines will help you curb the calories- every little bit helps, especially this time of year! For more ideas, you can check out Brian Wansink’s website.