The New Year often gets people to think of making resolutions. While resolutions are being considered, so should choices we make on a daily basis. While people estimate that they make about 15 food and beverage decisions each day, they actually make more than 200 such choices, according to researchers at Cornell University in the US. Their study, published in the January 2014 issue of Environment and Behavior, surveyed 139 Cornell staff and students to estimate how many decisions they make about food each day.
The author offers the following tips to prevent overeating, from his recent book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think” (Bantam Books):
- Use smaller bowls.
- Avoid eating directly from the package.
- Bank your calories (skip the starter if you want to indulge in dessert).
- Dine next to the slowest eater at the table.
- Eat the foods you love but in smaller portions.
- Pick two of the following: starter, drink or dessert.
- Keep tempting treats out of sight.
- Sit at least an arm’s length away from the buffet table or snack bowl.
Choices that we make relating to food are ongoing, constant and consistent. Not a day goes by when we are not confronted with food choices. The grocery stores don’t make it easier for us by providing us with hundreds of choices to make, at every isle in the grocery store. Although the task may appear to be difficult and daunting, by following a few basic nutrition guidelines, it provides us with more energy, stabilizes our mood and keeps us as healthy as possible.
- Choose whole grain, high fiber breads and cereals instead of baked goods that may contain high fat and low fiber. Choose lean cuts of meats like loin or rounds.
- Choose healthier methods of cooking like baking, broiling, steaming or roasting.
- Choose to fill half of your lunch and dinner plate with non-starchy vegetables in all colors adding a variety of vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients and the other half with protein and starches.
By choosing fresh fruits, you will be adding a boost of essential nutrients, antioxidants and fiber and by adding a few fresh ingredients you can add color, freshness and variety to your meals. Making one small change at a time will eventually lead to a healthier diet and lifestyle. Go ahead and make healthy food choices today! You will be on a successful start for the New Year!
Vasanthi Prabhaker, registered dietitian
Centegra Diabetes Center