Mind over munch­ing

A new study has found how hun­gry you feel may not ac­tu­ally de­pend on how much you’ve eaten. It’s a trick you can use to your ad­van­tage


IT WOULD seem that hunger is a fairly straight­for­ward in­stinct: de­pend­ing on how much you eat, you ei­ther will (or won’t) be hun­gry af­ter­wards.

But as it turns out, how hun­gry you feel may de­pend on how much you think you’ve eaten, not on how much was ac­tu­ally on your plate.

A new study found that the mind (ie per­cep­tion) plays a pow­er­ful role in how hun­gry you feel and sub­se­quently how much you eat over­all.

Over two vis­its, par­tic­i­pants in the study be­lieved they were eat­ing ei­ther a two- or four-egg omelette for break­fast, how­ever both times they were ac­tu­ally served a three­egg omelette.

When the par­tic­i­pants be­lieved they ate a smaller break­fast (two eggs) they re­ported be­ing hun­gry again two hours later, plus ate more for lunch and through­out the day com­pared to when they thought they’d had a larger break­fast (four eggs).

The trick to eat­ing less might be your mem­ory and not your stom­ach.

In other words, you are what you think you eat.

The good news is it’s rather sim­ple to trick your­self into eat­ing less.

Multi-task­ing and dis­tracted eat­ing

First, stop multi-task­ing (mums are no­to­ri­ous for this). Whether it’s snack­ing in front of the TV or pick­ing at the kids’ left­overs, it’s easy to munch away mind­lessly when you’re dis­tracted.

Re­search has shown that “dis­tracted eat­ing” makes it harder to re­call the amount of food con­sumed. This means we’re more likely to overeat later in the day.

Ev­ery­thing on a plate

Sec­ond, eat­ing out of a bag is not a very mind­ful prac­tice.

Get in the habit of plac­ing even small snacks and desserts on a plate be­fore you eat them – and sit down and savour.

This will force you to ac­knowl­edge ex­actly what and how much you will be eat­ing.

Small plates, small meals

Speak­ing of plates, us­ing smaller din­ner­ware is a fairly ob­vi­ous so­lu­tion to curb por­tions but tak­ing a mo­ment to con­sciously eye­ball the size of your meal into your mem­ory, like “that’s a large slice”, will make it more likely you will re­mem­ber what you’ve eaten later.

Chop your food up as well as the kids’ food

Fi­nally, cut­ting your food into smaller pieces is not just for toddlers. In­stead of cut­ting off one piece of steak at a time, try chop­ping up the whole serv­ing first.

This tac­tic cre­ates the il­lu­sion that you are con­sum­ing more food, which in turn causes a greater feel­ing of full­ness.

For more, visit www.kidspot.com.au.


BAN THE BAG: Eat­ing out of a bag is not a very mind­ful prac­tice. It’s bet­ter to place even small snacks and desserts on a plate be­fore you eat them so you’ll re­mem­ber what you ate later.

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