Good food, healthy eating

With these tips, you keep your portions under control. Simple ways to eat well (you might even lose some weight).

With these tips, you keep your portions under control. Simple ways to eat well (you might even lose some weight).

Do you have to be a martyr to eat right and deny yourself good taste? Don’t think so. Mindful is built on the notion that taste and wellness go hand-in-hand. (After all, if something doesn’t taste good, it doesn’t matter if it’s good for you because you’ll never eat it.) So, the first rule is to eat food you like. The second rule: eat the right amount. We call that portion control, and it’s a key factor in maintaining a lifestyle of wellness. Smart tips for better eating.

Eat well
The United Kingdom published a revised set of dietary guidelines in 2016: the Eatwell Guide. The revision was led by Public Health England. The Eatwell Guide contains 8 tips for eating well and is based on 5 food groups: like fruit and vegetables, dairy or dairy alternatives, potatoes and wholegrain rice, pasta, etc., proteins, unsaturated oils and spreads and fluid. Keep the Eatwell Guide top of mind and you’re doing a great job already.

Downsize your tableware
Try eating off a smaller plate. Research shows that routinely eating from a 10-inch rather than 12-inch plate reduced calorie consumption by 22 percent. Similar effects resulted from using smaller bowls and even spoons. The next time you’re at the café or a big family buffet, choose a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. Fill it with a nice variety of foods; its size will automatically limit what you take and keep your calories in check. Assuming you don’t return for seconds, it’s a good solution for unknowingly eating too much.

The 80 percent rule
Residents of the Japanese island of Okinawa outlive just about everyone else in the world, according to statistics. What they do? They eat until they are 80 percent full. The Japanese call this eating philosophy hara hachi bu. The 80 percent rule is a simple way to control your calories when you don’t know the nutritional specifics of what you’re eating. But what does 80 percent full feels like? Well, the stomach’s “full” signal takes a few minutes to register in the brain, so the best things you can do are to eat more slowly and to eat approximately half of what you’d typically eat.

Slow music
For dining music, choose slow. Clever restaurants that want to turn tables over more quickly will play upbeat background music. That’s because the faster the music, the faster people eat. It’s a scientific fact. But you can use this strategy to your advantage by doing the opposite. Save your most high-energy music for your workouts. When eating, turn on tunes that relax you and keep things mellow. Such slower songs will prompt you to eat slower, which means eating less.

Enjoy your own company
While there’s no replacing a great meal enjoyed with good friends and family, if calorie control is one of your priorities, you’re wise to have lunch solo on some days. Studies show that eating with others leads us to eat more. One study broke it down like this: Eating with one other person increased the amount of food that participants ate by 28 percent; with two others, 41 percent; and with six or more, 76 percent.

Portion sizes
Nutrition and weight-loss guides are filled with specific recommendations for how much to eat. But when you’re dining out, who can tell what one serving, 3 ounces, or ½ cup really looks like? The easy way to get a handle on portion sizes is to equate the measurements to familiar objects.

For example:

  • 3 ounces of meat or fish have the size of a decks of cards
  • ½ cup cooked pasta is just as big as your fist
  • 1 tablespoon of salad dressing should be no more than ½ golf ball
  • 1 teaspoon of butter is the same size as the tip of your little finger
  • 8 ounces of lasagna resemble the size of your smartphone
  • when having bread, stick to 1 or 2 small pieces
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