Make Mindless Eating Work for You
BY REBECCA COLLIER, MS, RD
Adjunct Instructor, Health Promotion and Wellness
Does the thought of “going on a diet” make you cringe? For most, this means cutting out your favorite foods and battling cravings all day – a less-than-exciting prospect for almost everyone. But new research points to a more effective, less drastic approach to adopting a healthier diet.
“Mindless eating” centers on the idea that our everyday environments strongly influence what and how much we choose to eat. When your stomach rumbles or you get the boredom munchies, you are most likely to go for what is in reach. It is easy to grab another piece of candy when it is sitting on your desk or to munch on a few (or more than a few) potato chips when they are displayed on top of the kitchen counter. These sneaky, mindless calories add up over days, weeks and years, adding pounds and leaving you wondering what happened. Start battling the bulge today by moving temptations out of sight and out of mind and replacing them with healthier options.
The healthiest snacks include foods from two foods groups, which will provide a variety of vitamins and minerals. Protein and fiber will help keep you full until the next meal. Use the chart below to get some new snack ideas. Then turn mindless eating into mindful eating by creating a new “path of least resistance.” Stock your kitchen, your dorm room, your backpack (or wherever you keep your food!) with ready-to-eat, easy-to-grab, healthy choices.
Take a new approach this time and forget the diet. Instead, make mindless eating work for you, not against you. To learn more about mindless eating and practical solutions to avoid it, check out Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink (Bantam Books, 2007).
Do you have a method for eating healthy? Feel free to leave a comment below!