I read a great article in the Nutrition Action Healthletter last week. The subject: How External Cues Make Us Overeat. To read more about this publication, go to http://www.cspinet.org/nah/index.htm.
The point of this article was about how different external cues, such as the size of the container, the name of a food, how surrounding people eat and perception of a food’s “Health status” can make us eat more.
I found the information really interesting and I totally agreed with each point they made.
A few minutes ago, I went to our break room to fix up a little fruit and yogurt for my afternoon snack. Fresh pineapple, strawberries and blackberries plus some fat-free, low-sugar vanilla yogurt. Yum! I was mindlessly* eating my food – not even half-way through with it and thought to myself, “I’m starting to get full.”
Then I looked at my bowl. It’s a pretty decently sized bowl. It’s what we had available.
I had filled it up!
I wasn’t THAT hungry. I’d eaten lunch only 2-3 hours earlier.
I had filled this bowl because it held that much. Filling it only half-full wouldn’t have looked as appetizing and I wouldn’t have been visually satisfied.
We’ve all heard this before. Eat off smaller plates. It’ll make your smaller (read: healthier) portions look like the huge portions we, as Americans, are used to getting. I eat off smaller plates at home. In fact, I started doing that a few years ago, and it’s a rare occasion that I pull out the larger plates. I’ve even brought smaller plates to work to use. Unfortunately, there were no small bowls available.
What does this tell me? That if I don’t really pay attention to what I’m doing, I’ll overeat without even thinking about it!
I will be bringing in small bowls to use at work.
Pay attention to how much you serve yourself and see if you fall into the same trap I fell into.
* Did you notice that I admitted to “mindless” eating? That’s another no-no. I’m sure I’d enjoy my food more if I actually took the time to appreciate its flavors and textures.