Try these 10 proven, practical behavioural tips that work to help you eat better and less - without dieting!
Shop with a list of healthy foods
The first step to healthy eating is shopping with a list. If you don’t have tempting calorie rich foods in the house, you can’t eat them. And if you do have healthy options in the house, you’re likely to eat those.
Put the sweet treats out of view
Keep the less healthy snacks at the back of the cupboard on a high shelf. One study found a link between obesity and the visibility of sweets and other high calorie foods. So rather keep healthy foods like fruit and nuts visible on your countertops.
Don't eat out of takeaway container (or packet)
This helps with portion control, as we tend to eat what’s in the container or packet, even if it’s too much. Mindful eating is about consuming what you actually need. You can put the rest of the meal in the fridge for another time.
This is a good way to avoid the temptation of impulse buying while you’re in the supermarket, and especially the snacks in the checkout queue. It’ll also focus your attention on what you’re spending on each item.
Don't eat in the car or when walking around
Eating while walking or sitting/driving in the car can be distracting, so you don’t notice how much you’re consuming. And because you haven’t sat and had a meal, it sets you up to imagine you still need to eat a proper meal later.
Drink water before your meal
This fills you up so you feel less hungry as you start your meal, which helps to reduce your calorie intake. And a glass of water is preferable to a soft drink or juice, which is high in sugar.
Use smaller plates
A smaller plate will encourage smaller portion sizes. Today’s plates are bigger than they were in the past, and a bigger plate tends to entice you to pile it high.
Eat together as a family
Eat at the table. Research has found that people consume about 10% more when eating in front of electronic devices.And eating together as a family is best. Teens especially are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables, and less junk food and soft drinks.
It takes a while for your stomach to send your brain the ‘full’ message, so if you eat too fast you may be eating too much. Research shows that fast eaters are more likely to be obese.Chewing your food slowly also aids digestion, as the food particles are smaller.
You’re more likely to eat high-calorie food if you suffer from disrupted or insufficient sleep. Good sleep patterns help you eat well, so be sure to get in your seven or eight hours every night.
Don’t think of these habits as ‘dieting’. In fact, nutritionists advise that favourite less-than-healthy foods should not be banned, as feeling deprived triggers binge eating. Rather think of these as behaviours that help you eat well, and happily and healthily.