Dieting can be a pain! Not to mention frustrating, in an “I-wanna-pull-my-hair-out-and-eat-a-box-of-donuts” kind of way. You probably have a menu of lackluster flavors to choose from – brown rice, steamed veggies, grilled fish. None of the fats, oils and sweets that make life tasty. Well, according to Psychology Today, there IS a way to make your eating more satisfying – so you don’t give up!
Joseph P. Redden from the University of Minnesota conducted a study involving jelly beans. He fed 22 fruit-flavored jelly beans to volunteers and measured their enjoyment level. Everyone ate the same selection, but when the candy was identified as, tangerine and strawberry, rather than generically labeled “jelly beans” – people enjoyed them more. Redden says focusing on the positive details like flavor and texture can be a surefire way to prevent big-time diet failure. For example, thinking of “fish” more specifically as “salmon” or “sea bass” can make it more appealing. Or let’s say you eat yogurt every morning. Instead of approaching it as “yogurt” – concentrate on the flavor you select each day. Vanilla, cherry, lemon and so on. Or add a touch of something to make it different, like some chopped up fruit, or granola. By drawing attention to a specific detail about the food, you can enjoy the experience longer and make it more satisfying.
On the other hand, lumping foods into a general category can help you avoid the bad stuff! If you’re trying to resist unhealthy foods, referring to hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries and any vending machine snacks as “fast food” can make them seem repetitive, and less enticing. Also, Redden says you should invest in a big selection of new spices for all those grilled veggies and fish dinners you’re eating. Not only will the flavor boost make the meal more enjoyable, but highly flavored foods fool you into thinking you’ve eaten more than you actually have! That’s a recipe for large scale success.