From our new book, The Real Skinny: Appetite for Health’s 101 Fat Habits & Slim Solutions, we took on many of the diet wreckers that are at your home.
1. Step away from the TV.
The more time you spend watching television, the less time you have for just abut everything else, including physical activity. Plus, you’re more at risk for mindless munching in front of the tube. Make a commitment to cut your TV viewing time to an hour per day. Use the extra time to cook healthy meals, go for a walk with a friend, or hit the gym.
2. Close your kitchen after 8 p.m.
Studies show that people who eat the bulk of their calories in the evening are more likely to be overweight compared with adults who eat the majority of their calories when it’s light out. If this is an issue for you, try including more fiber in your dinner (bean chili, vegetable soup, or a large salad are all good choices), which will keep you full into the evening hours. You may also want to try planning your evening snack in advance and choosing foods that take some time to eat, such as air-popped popcorn or non-fat Greek yogurt with berries.
3. Say goodbye to family style meals.
A group of researchers found that men ate 29% more food when a serving bowl was in front of them and women ate about 10% more. Leave food on the stove or counter where you’ll have to get up to get seconds. You’ll be more aware of how much you’re eating.
Home cooking equals healthier eating. That’s why it’s important to know where your tools are to have control over your kitchen. While you’re straightening up, put the nutritious foods where you’re most likely to see and use them – on the counter or front and center in your fridge. Put the candy and junk food in the back of the cupboard.
5. Downsize your Dishes.
In this regard, size matters! Nowadays, standard dinner plates can be 14-inches wide, but back in our grandparents’ time, they were just 10 inches. It’s not a coincidence that as plate sizes increased, so did the obesity epidemic. Swap out your old plates for smaller dishes or serve dinner on salad plates. Studies show that when a plate looks full, you’re less likely to feel deprived, even though the portion size is smaller. And while you’re at it, downsize your drinking and wine glasses, as they have gotten consistently larger over the past few decades.
Julie Upton, M.S., R.D., CSSD
Appetite for Health