“Mindless eating” is a term coined by food psychologist Brian Wansink to describe the many subconscious decisions we make every day about what, when, and how much food to eat. In his research, he’s found that we can make a few simple adjustments to our environments to ensure that we push our subconscious in a healthier direction.Here are three things you can try for yourself to avoid the pitfalls of mindless eating: Volume Control To achieve smaller portions at meals without feeling deprived, use a 9- or 10-inch plate instead of the standard 12-inch plate. You’ll get a smaller portion, but it will look like plenty of food on the smaller plate, fooling your brain and your stomach into thinking you’re getting plenty. Using smaller utensils like teaspoons and salad forks will limit how much food you can put in your mouth at one time, promoting slower eating and better digestion. Use small glasses or cups for any beverage that isn’t water. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
- Don’t bring home the foods that you know you tend to overeat. If they aren’t in the house, you won’t see them, and won’t eat them.
- Make “healthier” foods more accessible than more indulgent foods. If you decide to bring home sweets and snack foods, stash them in the back of the fridge or pantry and not out on the kitchen counter. Put fruits, vegetables, nuts and other nutritious foods in the front of the fridge, and pre-cut or portion out some of your favorites for easy-to-grab snacks.
- If you buy large quantities of food at discount stores, put most of it away in a basement or garage. You will eat more of it if it’s all stored in the house.
- Minimize temptations at work. Bring a pre-packed lunch and a couple of snacks so you won’t be tempted by treats brought in by coworkers.