Top 5 Holiday Health Tips Countdown: #4 Be Mindful While Eating
by Dr. Amy Mercovich
Your environment influences your eating behavior. To read funny stories about how we eat differently according to packaging, variety, colors, bowl and plate size, and whether or not “evidence of eating” remains, check out Brian Wansink, PhD’s book called Mindless Eating. He runs the Food and Brand lab at Cornell University.
Dr. Wansink writes one story about people at a bar who were being served chicken wings – as many as the people wanted. Some tables had the evidence (aka the chicken bones) cleared from the table as they ate. Other tables had the chicken bones left on the table so that they piled up in front of the patrons. Guess who ate more chicken wings? If you guessed the people who had the chicken bones removed, you are right. The lesson here is to leave the evidence of how much you have eaten in plain view so your subconscious brain is reminded that you already ate plenty.
A few other suggestions include:
- Use small plates and short and fat beverage glasses
- Keep less healthy foods in the kitchen so you have to get up for more and the vegetables on the table so it is easy to eat more
- Limit variety at any one meal or event
- Create “pause points” while eating so you are forced to stop and evaluate whether or not you want to continue eating more. This last technique is called Thin Mint Packaging because the thin mint cookies always came in four separate bags inside the Girl Scout cookie box.
A little mindfulness can go a long way in keeping your holiday season joyful and not a waistline wrecker.