Lifestyle changes and dieting can make you feel hungry all the time. Sitting at home is prime time for cravings and munchies to take hold. When your pantry is just a few steps away, how can you possibly keep from giving in? Use some mind hacks to trick your brain, so you feel less hungry.
Consume more water. Not just by drinking, but by eating foods with a high water content, you can trick yourself into feeling full. Cucumbers, celery, and grapes are examples of snacks with a high water content that will leaving you feeling fuller than snacking on chips and other high calorie choices.
Use smaller plates. By now you’ve likely seen side-by-side comparisons of plate sizes in America over the past century. Using smaller plates makes it easier to visualize appropriate portion sizes. It also forces you to choose to go back for second helpings if you want more.
Leave platters and serving bowls in the kitchen. If you bring the whole meatloaf to the dinner table, someone is going to have a second helping. Maybe more. Leave it in the kitchen while you dine and you’re more likely to drink your water and enjoy some conversation without overeating.
Know what you currently eat. In order to eat less, you need a starting point. Track your usual home eating habits using the free SuperTracker tool provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It will help you compare your goals with your current choice to see where you need to make adjustments and how to do so.
Go for snacks with fiber. If you’ve got the urge to snack, choose something high in fiber. You’ll feel full without consuming lots of calories. Plus, you’ll digest fiber slowly, so the full feeling sticks around longer. Apples, broccoli, and hummus are just a few examples of healthy, high-fiber snack choices.
Use your imagination. Habituation is a process by which people stop wanting something after they’ve had enough of it. For example, if you spend a whole day eating pickles, you won’t crave them the next day. A study published in Science showed that people who repeatedly imagined eating a certain food, actually consumed less of it. Before you bring that bag of chips to the couch, imagine eating them all. You may find you’ll eat less.
Be mindful while you eat. Mindfulness is a practice based in Buddhism. Mindful eating means paying careful attention to all the sensations of food selection, preparation, and eating. You eat slowly and intentionally. Notice the taste of each bite of food. Feel yourself become full and nourished as you eat. Fully experiencing food preparation and eating keeps you from eating too fast and too much.
Pack up leftovers immediately. After the whole family has prepared their plates and headed to the table, put any extra food into storage containers immediately. This will make it a little more difficult to go back for more helpings of food. If the food is still hot, let it cool before putting on a lid.
Clean up right away. Lingering at the dinner table for a cup of coffee makes it easy to pick at extra food after you’ve finished eating. When you’re finished eating, pick up plates and clean up the kitchen. Activity will get your digestion going plus you won’t be eating after you’re already full.
Use a portion app. It’s tough for most of us to gauge portions correctly without an arsenal of scoops, cups, and scales. When do you take time to use those anyway? Try an app such as PhotoCalorie to visualize the nutritional value of serving sizes.
Even though you don’t have a magic button to turn off those evening munchies, you can use simple mind tricks to eat less and feel full. Making these changes could even help you eat fewer calories and lose weight. Give it a try.