With the approaching Holiday Season, we are sure to be surrounded by tons of food options on the table. Family gatherings and shared meals make us less aware of what and how much we are eating, as we become carried away in conversation or social interaction. When we eat in a group setting, we subconsciously match our intake to that of others around us.
John M. de Castro, a psychology professor in Georgia, has done extensive research that shows we eat far more food when we eat with other people. "When people eat in groups they eat on average 44% more than when they eat alone," he said. "In addition, the more people that they eat with, the bigger the effect. Eating in large groups is 76% larger than when alone".*
CHANGING HOW FAMILY INFLUENCES YOUR EATING HABITS
Breaking bread with friends and family is a valuable and important experience, especially during the holidays; indeed, sharing a meal is often the biggest part of any celebration. While enjoying your gatherings this season, try sticking to these key guidelines for more mindful eating:
- Remember "less is enough." Before dining, rating your hunger level will make you more aware of your consumption.
- Drink a full glass of water before the meal. I also add a slice of lemon to my water, which helps me to skip some of the snacks and appetizers before the main event.
- Set a limit for yourself. For example, aim for a maximum 4 to 5 different foods and no more than 2 small servings of each, as an example. If you want to taste them all, exercise portion control.
- Remember, it takes 20 minutes for the ‘full’ signal to reach your brain!
- Choose not to accept ‘seconds’ with a smile. Eating more does not have to be a way to show gratitude to the cook.
- When dining out at a restaurant, if your order portion is larger than you would normally serve yourself, choose to set aside a portion of the food to take home for later.
- When engrossed in conversation, place your knife and fork on your plate. When there is a pause, consider the remaining food on your plate before picking up your utensils to step back into eating more consciously.
- Last, but not least: choose more low-calorie, high-nutrition food items like Datehini!
We hope you find these tips helpful. It may help to focus on one or two goals first, and gradually incorporate the rest as they become habits. Eat Well and Be Well! ~ Sezin Kutlu, Founder
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