Better Choices, Better Results

OMG! It’s True!

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

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. 

I had filled this bowl nearly full. I estimate that I had close to 2 cups of fruit and yogurt in here.

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.


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