How many times a day do we make that decision? Most people would say about 14. But the truth is – it’s more like 200! Which means, it’s easy to choose the wrong foods. So, here’s how to make easy, smart food choices. These tips come from Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think:
- Forget brand loyalty. Why? People who buy brand names are 13% less likely to check nutritional labels than those who comparison shop. Since manufacturers often tweak their recipes, you could get more sugar, calories, and fat substitutes than you bargained for.
- Streamline your grocery list. Instead of writing down specific foods, like Frosted Flakes, tortellini and peaches, jot down categories, like cereal, pasta and fruit. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that people who decide what to buy once they see the available options are more likely to make healthier choices.
- Simplify your flavors. When you switch flavors mid-meal – like from Caesar salad to mac ‘n cheese - your brain signals you to eat more of the “new” food. Up to twice as much as you would have otherwise! That’s from a study in Psychology & Behavior. So, if you splurge on ice cream, go for one flavor, not 2 or 3. You’ll be less likely have seconds.
- Don’t eat in front of the TV! Studies show that people eat more in front of the tube, because they’re not paying attention to how much food they’re ingesting. In fact, you might still feel the need to indulge after the credits roll, because cravings can linger if you eat while distracted. So, eat at the table, don’t watch TV, and focus on enjoying your food. After all, that’s the whole point of eating, isn’t it?