day 17 mindless eating - make it work for you

Brian Wansink wrote a great book called Mindless Eating. He discusses the interesting research he’s done at the Cornell  University Food and Brand Lab. One of his studies showed that people associate popcorn and movie watching. Because of that association, those with a strong popcorn/movie watching habit ate as much stale, week old popcorn as those who got a fresh bag. 

In general, doing other things while we eat, especially watching a movie or watching something on TV, will keep us from being aware of how our food tastes and noticing how satisfying it is. We’ll eat until whatever in front of us is gone.

There are all sorts of lovely tricks to keep from mindless eating (larger fork, smaller bowl, eating with our non-dominant hand) and several that are focused on changing our environment (get enough sleep, put the treats out of sight because see them will cue you to eat them). 

But here’s a trick on the trick. If I offer my son and husband a slice of apple while they’re watching TV, they almost always say yes. I keep bringing apple slices. They eat them until they’re gone. 

Use the association with watching TV and eating food to get in additional servings of fruits and vegetables. Sit down with a big bowl of munchies -- carrots, peppers, jicama -- and maybe a dipping sauce or hummus. Then go at it.