Almost all of us at some time or another have overindulged in food, usually by overeating the foods we love or eating when we’re not actually hungry.
Enjoying food, including the odd treat, is good for the soul and an important part of life, but it’s helpful to be mindful of why and how we eat.
Here’s our top tips to keep your eating in balance:
1. Focus on your meal
Minimise external distractions – turn off your TV and devices and give your meal your full attention. Enjoy the taste, texture and smell of your food.
2. Make mealtimes an occasion
Life is busy, but try to prioritise mealtimes, especially dinner, at least a few times a week. Treat mealtimes as more than just a chance to quickly eat and move onto the next activity, but as a time to enjoy the company of family and friends. If you live alone, you can still make eating time special by sitting at the table or outside in the sunshine.
3. Take your time
It takes 20–30 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain it’s full. Slow down and wait for your meal to digest before you reach for seconds or dessert. Put down your knife and fork between mouthfuls and chew your food slowly.
4. Get in tune with how food makes you feel
Have you noticed how a bag of potato chips doesn’t satisfy your hunger, but one apple is usually enough?! Real food should fill you up, rather than prompting you to indulge in more.
5. Ask yourself if you’re actually hungry
People eat for a variety of reasons other than being hungry, such as anxiety, boredom or frustration. Before you indulge in high-fat, high-sodium or sugary processed foods, ask yourself if you’re actually hungry. If you are, ask if what you’re about to eat will fill you up.
6. Portion size matters
Eating off large serving plates or bowls can unconsciously increase the amount of food you eat. A good rule of thumb is to picture your plate divided into four: one quarter would be meat or a meat alternative, one-quarter grains and half would be vegetables. But if your plate is large, your portion may be bigger than you need.