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Smart eating key to a skinny ‘08

Wed., Jan. 2, 2008

Did you resolve to give up dessert, ban pizza and fast food from the house, remove processed foods from your cupboards and finally get skinny in 2008?

How about some ideas for healthier eating that you might actually be able to follow this year. The suggestions come from researcher Brian Wansink, author of “Mindless Eating,” whose research for the University of Cornell revealed just how powerless we are against food. Most of us make more than 200 food decisions each day, he says, but most of them are unconscious and influenced by cues around us.

Among his ideas for avoiding mindless munching are:

Remove serving dishes from the table

Put a single serving of high calorie foods on the plates you give yourself and your family and leave the rest in the kitchen. Don’t serve family-style unless it’s fruit or vegetables. Wansink’s research shows people eat more food when they know there’s more.

Make single-serving snack bags

Portion out snack foods into individual servings and hide the rest. Make overeating a hassle, Wansink says. People eat more from bigger serving dishes, bowls and bags.

Serve dinner on smaller plates and use smaller bowls

Fifty-four percent of American adults aim to eat everything on their plate and they eat more food off large plates. However, most people feel equally full when dinner is served on smaller dishes. Diners also ate 59 percent less when they served themselves from smaller bowls.

Use tall thin glasses

People think they are getting more when drinks are served in tall slender glasses. Even experienced bartenders poured more into short, wide glasses.

Institute a “half-plate” rule

Half the plate should be vegetables and fruits, the other half should be protein and starch.

Become a good “gatekeeper” for your family

The main cook in the house controls 70 percent of the foods that a family eats. They also control decisions such as using heart-healthy olive oil, rather than butter, when cooking.

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