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.