Want to lose weight? Eat like a baby. No, that doesn’t mean we have to eat jars of puréed food. But there are things that babies do naturally that nutrition experts say can help us lose weight.
For example: Babies eat slowly, and chew a lot. It can take a toddler half an hour to eat a tiny dish of dry cereal, and most of it ends up on the floor. So, follow their lead, savor every bite, and put your fork down between mouthfuls. In a study at Eastern Illinois University, volunteers who had to shell pistachios ate half as many as those who ate nuts without shells, and all of them felt equally full. So slow down.
Another weight loss habit we can learn from babies: Try new fruits and vegetables. Most babies will eat anything Mom and Dad put in front of them. And the larger variety of foods we eat, the more nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants we get. Also, eating plenty of produce makes us feel full faster and longer, which can improve weight loss, and reduces our risk of diabetes. If you’re not a fan of vegetables, take a page from the parents of picky eaters: Keep tasting them. Studies show it takes at least 5 tries before you learn to like something new.
Another diet habit we can learn from babies: Eat only if you feel hungry. Kids intuitively know when they need food, and they simply won’t eat if they’re not interested, even if the clock says it’s mealtime.
Finally: Use baby food jars to learn portion control, and how to eyeball a proper serving. For example, a handful of almonds, or about 22 nuts, is the ideal portion recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. And, what a coincidence, that’s about how many you can fit into a small baby jar. If you don’t have any empty baby food jars lying around, eat as many nuts as will cover a 3-by-3-inch sticky note.