healthy plateHave you ever started eating something and before you know it, it’s gone?  A whole bag of chips, a whole bag of cookies, a pint of ice cream.  When you eat something and you aren’t thinking about it, you tend to eat more.  This is mindless eating.  This can happen so easily when you aren’t paying attention.  People are busy these days, so they try to multitask and eat while they do other things.  A lot of people eat while they work, while watching TV, while working on the computer, when they are at a sporting event, or even when they are driving.  When they eat while doing other things, they may not thoroughly enjoy the food and they don’t realize how much they are eating.  They may even forget how much they’ve eaten.  There’s proven research that shows people eat more when they are not concentrating on eating.

On the other hand, when you concentrate on what you are eating, you not only enjoy your food, but your mind and stomach register that you have eaten and you feel satisfied.  It’s important to be a mindful eater and pay attention to what you are eating.  You should eat your food slowly and enjoy each bite. When families sit down to eat together at the dinner table, they tend to eat better and eat less.

When you are in a hurry and grab food on the run, you are more likely to grab unhealthy foods.  Then when you are gone, you get hungry because your appetite was not satisfied and the fastest options to grab are more unhealthy foods.  This is a great reason to keep healthy snacks available in your car or at work, so you don’t choose the unhealthy options.

I found myself doing some mindless eating after Christmas.  There were so many snacks, candy, and cookies leftover from the holidays that I found myself munching on them every time I walked in the kitchen.  I’d even snack on junk while I was making dinner.  I didn’t even realize I was doing it half the time.  This is another reason you should make sure there are not unhealthy foods sitting out.  It’s too easy to eat a little here and a little there.  Keep healthy snacks readily available to eat when you are making meals, so you aren’t tempted by the snacks.

Take the time when you are eating something to really taste the food.  Chew it completely and focus on the taste and the texture.  Really enjoy it.  Use a smaller plate and fill it when you sit down to eat with ¼ healthy protein, ¼ whole grains, and the other half of the plate should be 2/3 vegetables and 1/3 fruits.  If you see a full plate, your brain registers all that food and as you eat slowly, your stomach receives the message that you are satisfied.  Eating slowly gives your body time to digest the food so you feel full.

Make a commitment to eat all meals and snacks at the table and really focus on the food.  Don’t eat snacks in front of the television.  If you only eat in the kitchen, you will cut down on the mindless eating.  You’ll be amazed at what a difference this makes.

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