When Cornell University researchers asked volunteers to estimate the number of eating decisions they make every day, most said 15. In fact, they really made about 221 decisions about what to eat—as well as how, when, where and with whom they’d eat.
If you are struggling with finding ways to cut calories, here are some easy tips that you might not have thought about.
1. Keep a food journal…studies show that tracking what you eat helps reduce intake.
2. If you still feel hungry or unsatisfied after a meal or snack, wait at least 10 minutes before you have more food. Often, the craving will go away.
Drink plenty of water. You may be thirsty, not hungry.
3. Pick lean, low-fat or nonfat foods instead of higher-fat/higher-calorie choices.
4.Get plenty of fiber; it will make you feel full. Men up to age 50 should take in 38 grams and women 25 grams. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are good sources.
5. Stay away from fruit juices and soda which are easily consumed in large quantities, providing extra calories you don’t need.
6. Eat mindfully in a location where you won’t be distracted and wind up eating more than you planned. Don’t eat in front of the TV or other electronic devices.
7. Don’t buy or bring foods into the house that you think you will ration if you have a strong attraction to them. If you don’t have them…you can’t eat them.
8. Plan meals ahead of time.
9. Put snacks in small bowls to eat as opposed to setting out the whole bag or box.
10. Drink a glass of water before you eat. Drink more during meals.
11.Use smaller plates and bowls as well as tall, skinny glasses. Studies show that visual cues associated with using smaller serving items decreases food consumption.
12. As an alternative to putting dressing on your salad, put it on the side in a small container and dip your fork into the dressing before you spear a bite of salad. You can also forego dressing completely by topping your greens with fruit such as cut up strawberries or oranges.
13. Eat slowly. Take a few one-minute breaks from eating during meals. Put your fork down between bites. Cut your food one bite at a time.
14. Enjoy fruit for dessert or don’t have any at all.
15. Leave a little food on your plate. (You control the food; it doesn’t control you.)
16. Remove your plate as soon as you’ve finished eating.
17. If you eat in order to deal with feelings other than hunger, such as boredom, being tired, or stress, here are some things you can try:
- Read a good book or magazine to divert your attention and allow you to relax
- Spend time working on a hobby or other activity that keeps you on your feet
- Listen to music
- Limit time watching television and sitting…stay busy
- Exercise…this is a great way to keep from eating and essential for good health
Use these strategies to help you identify situations where you consume excess calories and set yourself up for success!