'Tis the Season . . . to Eat Mindlessly?

Heather Reese Health Guide
  • During the holiday season it is so to engage in a lot of mindless eating, which is when we consume hundreds of extra calories without realizing. Treats and holiday goodies are everywhere and it is easy to sample and snack without realizing how many extra calories you are consuming. It may not seem like a big deal, but eating just 100 extra calories per day for a year can result in a 10-pound weight gain!

    To avoid mindless eating, you have to think before you eat. It sounds simple, but you have to actively engage your mind and ask yourself when did I last eat or am I hungry or bored?. You can also try to keep your mouth busy with non-eating activities like chewing gum and mints or drinking a calorie-fee beverage so you don’t nibble.
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    Recent research reports that if we have to work in order to eat then we will eat less. For example, we will eat fewer peanuts if we have to shell the peanuts before eating them. The same thing is true with candy. We will eat less candy if we have to unwrap the individual pieces. So, when you have your holiday snack and candy dishes out – make you and your guests work for your treats!

    You can try a similar strategy with your holiday meals. People are less likely to eat seconds if they have to get up and walk into the kitchen to serve themselves. To prevent mindless eating, leave the serving dishes in the kitchen rather than on the table family style.

    Studies have found that we will fill our plates, no matter the size of the plate. So, when setting the table this holiday season, use smaller plates. Filling up an oversized plate causes you to overeat without even realizing. If you use a smaller plate you are going to eat a smaller amount.

    By making a few small adjustments in your holiday food habits, you can avoid eating mindlessly this holiday season.

    Find healthy holiday recipes and get ready for New Year's Resolutions at FoodFit.com.
Published On: December 15, 2006