I recently finished reading Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink. His basic argument is that many people unconsciously fall victim to environmental cues that encourage unhealthy eating behaviors, leading us to mindlessly eat more than we realize. For example, he discovered that simply leaving serving platters on countertops and off dining tables discouraged people from having seconds.
His overall argument is that you can mindlessly undereat just as easily as you mindlessly overeat, simply by restructuing your environment.
Some of his tips that I found particular pertinent:
- Leaving empty beer bottles or wine glasses in front of you reminds you how much you've already had and makes you reconsider before having another.
- Variety piques interest and can lead to overeating. At buffets, limit yourself to one or two foods per plate.
- Only eat at the table, never standing.
- Use smaller plates so your portions look larger than they would on big plates.
- Using 50% of your plate for vegetables, 25% for a starch, and 25% for a lean protein.