- Keeping unhealthy foods like potato chips and candy in your home
- Eating while watching TV or working on the computer
- Ordering super-sized portions when eating out
- Sadness or depression
The smell or sight of food (ex. popcorn at the movie or donuts in the break room)
Holidays, parties or other social gatherings
Large portions can also be a trigger for eating too much; resulting in an 8 or 9 on the Hunger/Fullness Scale. It's important to compare your portion size (the amount on your plate) to standard serving sizes any time you eat. You may be surprised that the amount on your plate is equal to two or three standard servings! Remember suggested portion sizes and stop eating when you satisfied.
Here are several ideas for controlling portions at home and when eating out:
- Avoid eating in front of the TV or while busy with other activities.
- Serve smaller portions and keep extra food on the counter instead of the table.
- Use smaller dishes, serving containers and scoops. Research shows that these have all increased greatly over time and may lead to overeating.
- Don't skip meals. Skipping meals will make you overly hungry and leads to overeating.
- Fill a snack bag with a pre-determined portion of snacks instead of eating from an open container.
- Share a meal with a friend and start with a small salad or broth-based soup.
- Take one slice of bread or one handful of chips and move the bread/chip basket away from you.
- Ask for a portion of your meal to be boxed before it's brought to your table.
- Slow down and enjoy your food.
Strategies Recommended by the American Dietetic Association
- Eat a healthy breakfast. Skipping breakfast often leads to poor food choices later in the day as well as overeating. Skipping breakfast can also affect mental performance. Kids who skip breakfast before school are at a disadvantage, because they have difficulty concentrating. Also, breakfast skippers have lower intakes of essential vitamins and minerals compared to those who eat breakfast.
- Eat four or five meals/snacks per day. This may help avoid large drops in blood sugar which can lead to overeating. Keeping your blood sugar stable helps give your body the energy it needs throughout the day.
- Consume more of your calories during the day versus the night. The tendency to overeat at night remains common even though most evidence points to balancing calorie intake versus calorie expenditure regardless of the time of day.
Did you know? Reducing 100 calories per day = 10 pounds weight loss per year
Here are some simple substitutions to help you get there:
- 1 Tbsp. mayo instead of 2 Tbsp. mayo
- 1 medium orange instead of 12 oz. orange juice
- 1 light beer instead of 2 beers
- 1.5 c. pasta instead of 2 cups
- 2 small cookies instead of 4 cookies