I am fascinated by the research of Cornell University professor Brian Wansink on the subject of mindless eating. His philosophy is about creating an environment that makes healthy eating a default choice. Although, as a dietitian, I encourage everyone to put thought into what they are eating, I also know that when healthy habits are easy to follow, they are more likely to stick.
Dietary Guidelines Are More Useful
When They Are Easy to Implement
Here are a few simple rules that will help you boost good nutrition and cut portion sizes in an almost effortless way. They are simple and straightforward enough to be incorporated into anyone’s life, including that of busy moms.
Adopt the plate rule
Make sure at least half of your plate is filled with fruit and vegetables. The other half can be split between lean protein sources (meat, fish, tofu, etc.) and starch (pasta, potato, rice, etc.). Also, make sure you use a 9-inch plate, not a 11 to 12-inch one.
Boost fresh, shrink junk
We eat with our eyes. Mini-size the bowls for snacks and junk foods. Super-size bowls and plates for colorful fruits and vegetables. Instead of eating chops from big boxes, repackage them in small sandwich bags. You may end up eating much less.
Another helping? Take a walk instead
Pre-plate meat and starches in the kitchen and serve fruits and vegetables family-style. If you want an extra portion of calorie-dense foods, you will have to go back in the kitchen, open the refrigerator, get a serving spoon, etc. Not a lot of work, but enough to dissuade some from eating too much.
“De-convenience” tempting foods
Keep foods like chips and candy (if they absolutely have to be in your kitchen) on the top shelf of you cupboard. Stock eye-level shelves with dry fruit, nuts and low-sodium whole-grain crackers. Keep ice cream behind more nutritious treats in you freezer, such as frozen berries or edamame.
Grab some goodness to go
Place pre-washed and cut fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator or on the kitchen counter for a easy access.
Make it special
Turn healthy meals into special occasions by using nice plates and cutlery. Quiet music and candles will add to a classy ambience. Slow down and listen to your body telling you when to stop eating.
Never say “never”
Life without your favorite ice cream may just not worth living. Keep enjoying it. But make sure to keep the servings to a small scoop and add plenty of fresh fruit to your dessert. Feeling of deprivation – gone. Good nutrition – boosted.
Natalia Stasenko, MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Dietitian and health counselor specializing in pediatric nutrition. She is the founder of TribecaNutrition, a blog that helps families to choose healthier ways of eating. She works as a consultant for government agencies and corporations, including Head Start, a federal program for families with pre-school children. For more information, please visit www.TribecaNutrition.com
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