Do you have a tendency to snack in the morning? An article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, December 2011 cited a research study on the snacking habits of women who were on a diet for a year and found that the women who did not snack midmorning lost 11.5 percent body weight compared to 7 percent loss in the women who had a midmorning snack.
Several people have asked about specific meal plans to help with your nutrition, including adequate protein intake and better carbohydrate choices. The American Diabetes Association has a program called “My Food Advisor” that you can sign up for and get recipes for healthy living. It has a lot of information as well as meal plans and recipes. The website is http://www.diabetes.org.
Fighting food cravings: Cravings usually have something to do with our environment, our habits, or food chemistry (the science of creating addictive food that will have people coming back for more). According to a food scientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center who studies why people crave the foods they do has identified a trio of reasons (fat, salt, and sweet). Over 90% of foods that people report craving are high in fat. Part of the blame is our brain chemistry. Our bodies respond to foods high in fat, salt, and sugar by producing a sort of high with the stimulation of portions of the brain. As a result, the body continues to seek out the types of foods and food sensory impressions that make you happy. We can’t just stop eating as we need to eat to live but we can cut back on the foods that we like so much but are really bad for us. Cutting back usually results in a “taste change” and decreases the desire to eat the particular food. It takes about a month for this to happen. The craving will be highest in the first week or two but will decrease after that when we decide to cut down on certain high fat, salt, or sugar containing food.
Ways to fight food cravings:
Organize your kitchen: you are three times more likely to eat the first food you see as the fifth thing you see so put the healthful foods where you will notice it first.
Serve yourself: you eat less food when you dish up smaller amounts instead of eating from a package.
Pick a smaller plate: Use a 7-9 inch plate and you will eat less.
Use long thin glasses: Forget squat juice glasses. We pour more when our curs are short and fat. To drink fewer calories, use tall, thin ones.
Turn off the TV: Eating a meal in front of the TV is mindless eating.
Scout out the buffet: Planning what you want to eat can help you eat less and pick more nutritious items. So look the offerings over before getting your plate and placing foods on it.
Leave evidence: Clearing your plate at a buffet or party makes it easy to forget how much you ate. So leave some evidence on your plate (bones, etc.)
Pay attention: When dining with others, usually we pay less attention to what we eat and take a longer time to eat so we tend to eat more. Research has shown that if we dine with one person we will eat about 35% more than we will eat when eating alone.
For more information, you may want to check out one of the following books.
Mindless Eating: Why we eat more than we think by food scientist Brian Wansink or End of Overeating: Taking control of the insatiable American appetite by former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration David Kessler, MD.
March 2012 Newsletter, Part 2