Enjoy your food–but eat less!

So it’s funny what the birth of your child will do to your free time!  It’s been just a few months since I’ve posted and I’ve got a ton of stuff to talk about!  My next post was going to be on portion sizes and portion control, so while I’m working on that, I’ll give you a related teaser.  I saw the following poster on http://www.choosemyplate.gov, and I thought it fit very well my next post.  Click on the poster below to see a readable version of it.

Top Ten Tip Sheet

The SuperTracker and Food-A-Pedia are some tools created by the USDA to help you understand more about what you’re eating and what’s in it.  The names above link to the specific pages.

Of those ten tips, I’d like to talk about three in particular:

#3 – Use a smaller plate

Smaller Plates!How many of us were taught to “clean your plate”, because there were starving children out there that would appreciate your dinner? Sadly, the idea of “cleaning your plate” can turn out to be a very unhealthy one.  Instead, we should eat until we’re satisfied, and not eat anything else.  However, if you have trouble doing that–trick yourself!  Using a smaller plate or bowl for your meal will still give you the satisfaction of cleaning your plate, while not leading you to eat more than you need!  For an interesting read on how the size of the container your food is in can affect how much you eat, read this article about a study done at Cornell University–where people ate more popcorn when given larger containers, even when they didn’t realize it or want to.

#4 – If you eat out, choose healthier options

Many of us eat out on a weekly basis–if not more.  I’m no exception!  When we do eat out, however, it’s nearly impossible to control how food is being prepared.  Thus, be prepared beforehand!  Many restaurants have nutritional information listed on their websites, and in many states, menus are required to have nutritional information.  Take a peek at this information before you go, if you can, and determine a healthier option beforehand.  Not only will that stop you from staring at the menu with the server staring down at you impatiently…but you also won’t be tempted by something that you really don’t want to (or shouldn’t) have.

#10 – Make treats “treats,” not everyday foods

FruitWe all need treats once in a while.  Maybe you’ve had a stressful day and want to unwind with some ice cream.  Maybe you have a sweet tooth that’s feared throughout the state!  Recall back to my first post – The Mighty Calorie! – that just 250 extra calories a day can lead to 24 more pounds a year.  Take a look at your treat–I bet you it’s at least 250 calories, if not more.  So make treats exactly that–treats.  If you eat treats daily, try cutting them down to 3 times a week.  If you’re really craving something, replace those other times with more healthy options–a piece of your favorite fruit, for example.

As always, feel free to respond in the comments, talk to me over on my Facebook page, or tweet me through Twitter.  Enjoy!