Mindful Eating and Portion Sizes
You can eat well while enjoying the pleasures of the table and still maintain a healthy weight if you mindfully savor your food in sensible ways rather than inhaling it mindlessly.
1. Use smaller plates and bowls. Instead of a 12-inch dinner plate, use one that’s 10 inches or even 8. You’ll feel fuller with less food especially if you’re in the habit of eating until your plate is empty. Whatever size plate you use, remember this “handy” guide to portion sizes. Start with a serving of vegetables about the size of your open hand. Add fish, meat or beans about the size of your palm, then finish off your plate with a scoop of whole grains about the size of your fist.
2. Use tall glasses. If two glasses both hold the same amount of liquid, our brains will always estimate that there’s more in the tall, narrow glass than in the short, wide one. If you’re drinking beverages with calories you may be satisfied with less from a tall glass. (Or, just drink water and it won’t matter!)
3. Put away the leftovers before eating. Serve in the kitchen, and immediately put any extra food in the fridge. You won’t be tempted by leftovers if they’re out of sight – and already cold – instead of sitting on the kitchen counter or the dining table.
4. Turn off the TV. Studies show that food is more satisfying when you pay attention to what you’re eating. If you’re watching TV, your body literally may not notice that you’ve eaten, leaving you feeling hungry.
5. Slow down. The best part of every bite is savoring the taste in your mouth. See how long you can savor each bite before taking another, rather than chewing just enough to gulp it down.
6. Make healthy choices easy. Research by Brian Wansink shows that people who keep pre-cut vegetables readily available on their refrigerator shelves eat 230% more vegetables than if their veggies are whole and in the crisper.
Recommended reading: Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, by Brian Wansink, Ph.D. (Bantam, 2006)