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Try These Tips to Banish "Mindless" Eating

Many people set goals to eat better or lose weight starting on Jan. 1 only to give up on those goals by February. Did you know you can make some simple changes to reach your goals more easily?
Try These Tips to Banish "Mindless" Eating

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Researchers are studying "mindful eating." People who eat mindfully focus on what is going on at the moment. They are more aware of their eating habits and the food environment. While eating more mindfully takes practice, we can make simple changes to cut down on "mindless" eating. Consider some potential updates to your home and work environment.

Make Nutritious Snack Choices the "Easy Choice"

Research from Cornell University shows that people who have candy bowls at least 6 feet away from their desks eat 110 fewer calories than those who have candy bowls within reach. If we see healthful food first, we will eat more healthful food.

  • Keep whole fruit such as apples, oranges or bananas in your "candy bowl" at work.
  • Measure out a single portion. Leave the bag or box of snacks out of sight to prevent "overgrazing."
  • Arrange your refrigerator for smart snacking. Place part-skim string cheese, low-fat yogurt, cut-up vegetables and fruit in your refrigerator to grab for snacks. Consider placing them in grab-and-go bags.
  • Conquer clutter! In cluttered environments, people tend to eat 44 percent more snacks than those in clutter-free environments.

Location! Location! Location!

  • Consider where you serve food. During dinner, keep fruits and vegetables on the dinner table. Serve the main course from pans, pots or serving bowls in the kitchen.
  • Arrange your cupboards to inspire healthful menus. Place staples such as brown rice and canned beans at eye level in front.

Size Up Your Servings

  • If you buy items "in bulk," divide food into smaller portions. When we buy larger-sized packages of food, we eat half of what we bring home within the first six days.
  • Use a smaller plate or bowl. If the (smaller) bowl looks full, you still can feel satisfied. We tend to eat 51 percent more ice cream if we eat with bigger spoons and bowls.

 Turn off Electronics (TV, Phones, Tablets) During Mealtimes

  • Avoid multitasking while you eat. You may eat far more food than you plan if you are multitasking. Pay attention and enjoy your food.

 Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Featured in Food Wise February newsletter (PDF)

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