We make lots of food decisions every single day on what to eat, where, how much to eat and even who to eat with. 90% of food decisions we make are habit base.
Perhaps you’re trying to make changes to your current eating habits; to eat healthier, eat less and make better food decisions. So, I want to share with you 10 simple food hacks to trick your brain into eating less without feeling deprived or needing to make drastic changes to your current eating habits.
1) Downsize Your Plate, Downsize Your Portion
Both these bowls have the exact same amount of muesli. Research has shown that if you eat from a large plate, you’re more likely to pill on more food to fill up the plate. So swap for smaller bowls, plates and utensils to eat less. Your eyes will trick your mind into believing that you’re eating more food.
2) Contrast the Colour of Your Plate & Food
Both these plates have the same amount of rice. If you serve it on a white plate, you’re may end up eat 22% more than on a dark plate. If you want to eat less, the trick is to select plates that have a high contrast to the food. On the contrary, if you want to eat more greens, try serving them on a green plate.
3) Drink Tall
Both these glasses have the same amount of liquid. Visually, the tall thin glass appears to hold more than the short glass. So limit bad liquid calories such as sodas and alcohol by serving them in tall glasses. You’ll be drinking 20% less!
4) Buy Small Packs, instead of A Large Pack
When you have a packet of snack in front of you, no matter what the size is, chances are you’ll finish it in one sitting. Opt for smaller packet and eat less. If you can’t buy smaller packs, then divide them into smaller containers. Never eat directly from the packet.
5) Drink Water First
When you think you feel hungry, before you reach for that chocolate bar to fill you up, drink water first. Chances are you might just be dehydrated instead of actually being hungry.
Drink water or have a light broth-based vegetable soup before your meal. It’ll fill you up and you’ll eat less 20% less for your main meal.
6) Keep food out of sight
If you’re a snacker, this next trick is for you. If a food is nearby and you can visually see it, you’re more likely to snack on it even if you’re not hungry.
Choose to store biscuits and treats in a non-transparent container and keep them in the food cupboard or drawers. If you don’t see it, you won’t think of it, and you won’t eat it.
7) Leave evidence behind
Don’t be too excited to keep your plate clean after eating. Previous experiments have shown that when we have no evidence of the food we have consumed, we eat 28% more.
So give yourself visual clues to help you track of how much you've eaten especially when you’re eating out or at a buffet. Leave those ‘trash’ by your sight to keep you in check.
8) Practice Proper Plating Method
When you look at a plate, remind yourself that a healthy portion should be half vegetables, a quarter of lean protein and a quarter of whole grains. This plating method will automatically lower the overall calorie consumption, increase the total fibre intake, hence keeping you full without overeating.
9) Divide the Food on Your Plate
Nowadays, most restaurants tend to serve huge portions to keep their customers happy. A full meal can sometimes contain more than 1,200 calories.
To avoid overeating, divide your meal, Divide that mountain of food into “to-eat-now” pile and “to-bring-home” pile. Once you’ve finished the “to-eat-now” pile, ask the waiter to pack the leftovers immediately.
If you leave your food on the table and continue chatting with your friends, chances are, you’ll continue eating and finish the entire plate.
10) Limit Distractions During Meal Time
If you eat with distractions, your body may not register the food you’ve eaten and you may end up eating more. So, turn off the TV, put your laptop and smartphone away while you eat. Engage with your senses instead, look, smell your food and taste every bit. And for those of you working in an office, consider taking your lunch break away from your desk!
Building a lifestyle of healthy habits is long term. Start by practicing these 10 simple food hacks. Overtime, you’ll subtly influence your mind and behaviour to eat less and lose weight.