You may wish you could eat french fries and pizza all day long, but if you're watching calories, then you know this would be unwise. But practicing moderation can be easier said than done — unless you've got a few healthy-eating tips up your sleeve. The next time you sit down for a meal, keep in mind these 10 moderation tips to help prevent overeating.
- Eat the real stuff. A plateful of fat-free brownies may not be as satisfying to your taste buds as a small square of the denser, chewier, original variety. Whether you splurge on a small treat every day or like to split a dessert when you eat out, go for a little of something decadent instead of a lot of the diet version.
- Nix the hands-off policy. Giving yourself some diet leeway can help make your healthy eating plans feel less daunting — which means you'll be less apt to pig out on a long-desired "no" food. Have a cheat day a week to eat what you want or order a plate of fries to share with the table; just a few nibbles may be all you need to keep cravings from consuming you.
- Beat cravings. Speaking of cravings, if you feel like your need for fatty, sugary, or salty foods is insatiable, it can be a hard battle to fight. Try training your taste buds to stop craving these foods with these tips to fight salty and sugary cravings and these strategies for nixing fatty food cravings.
- Ask yourself questions. Figuring out why you want to eat is a powerful tool if you feel like you don't know when to stop. Asking yourself these four questions before you eat can help you determine if you're eating because you're hungry or because of something else.
- Eat slowly. It takes a while for your brain to register that you're full, so eating slowly has its advantages. Give yourself time to realize that you're done by slowing down instead of scarfing.
Keep reading for five more tips.
- Know your portions. Make portion control easy by knowing exactly how much you're eating. These portion-control products — bowls, snack bags, and to-go containers — make it easy to eat within the lines.
- Step away from the package. Bought a cute new set of portion-control bowls? Now's the time to use them. You'll be more apt to overeat junk food if you're doing it straight from the package, so measure out your serving size and put the bag back in the pantry.
- Don't eat in front of the TV. Eating, the couch, and your TV can make for a waistline-unfriendly trio. Paying attention to your food, on the other hand, helps you enjoy your food mindfully so you can stop when you're full. Replace couch snacking with kitchen snacking so you are mindful of how much you've eaten.
- Close the kitchen. While kitchen-table meals are smart, lingering in the kitchen after dinner can make those leftovers seem that much more tempting. If you're used to catching up on email or reading a book in the kitchen at night — and find yourself snacking constantly because of it — then move to a different area of your house.
- Think mint. Whether you brush your teeth after a meal or make a pot of postprandial mint tea, the taste of peppermint helps signal to your brain that you're full, which can help stop you from reaching for seconds after you've had enough.