Enjoy your food, but eat less

Enjoy your food, but eat less is a tip from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Break this suggestion down into simpler steps and set yourself up for success.

This tip from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) might sound like a tall order, but it can be broken down into simpler steps and suggestions to set you up for success. Let’s focus mainly on how to eat less.

Most of us could stand to slow down during eating to actually enjoy our food. It takes up to 20 minutes for your brain to receive the message “I’ve had enough.” Consider putting your fork down in between bites to put the brakes on meal time. Really chew every bite and notice the flavors, textures and how the food makes you feel. Take smaller bites to slow down the rate the food disappears off of your plate.

All of these strategies encourage you to listen to the cues that you’ve had enough to eat. Think about when you’re satisfied versus when you’re full or, even worse, uncomfortably stuffed. If you’re satisfied, then wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy this food a second time as leftovers?

It would be wonderful if we could count on will power always coming through for us, enabling us to simply eat less. However, you might as well tip the scales in your favor and have your eating environment support you, too. Use smaller dishes for eating, and drink from smaller or narrower glasses for beverages other than water. If your plate or bowl is smaller, you simply can’t put as much food on or in it. Then when your dish is empty, you’ve set yourself up to have to make a conscious decision about whether you really are still hungry and want to put a second helping on the plate. You may surprise yourself and decide you’re satisfied and finished for now.

That’s all well and good if you’re eating in the comforts of your own home, but you might be thinking, “What about eating out?” Eating out can certainly be a way to enjoy our food, but if you think ahead you can also plan to eat less. Order off of the appetizer menu to get smaller portions. You can split an entrée with a friend or ask for a to-go box as soon as the entrée comes and put away half of it to take home.

If you haven’t already seen it, but sure to look for the article “Slow down and treat yourself to a great plate” for more on the “enjoy your food” part of this tip from 10 tips to a great plate. In the meantime, feel free to check out the fact sheet specifically about enjoying your food, but eating less.

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