Publish 28 September 2021
By Kevin RR Williams
Full of It
Food portions creep up on us. A Happy Meal grows into an order for a Big Mac with large fries. A Cobb salad later becomes a plate of corn on the cob with steak and lobster. Of course, your waistline grows as calorie consumption increases. Here’s how to train yourself to become satiated with less food.
Do you have room for dessert? The very nature of this question suggests we are trying to reach full capacity. It’s the way many of us were raised. So I was shocked at the response of a teenager. When sharing a meal with my family, I asked if he was full yet. First he said, “No.” When asked if he wanted more, he added, “No, I don’t eat ’til I’m full.”
Pause. This young man’s outlook on dining reveals a key to reducing food consumption. Slowly savor your meal. Eat until you are satisfied, not until you’re full. Satiation is part physical capacity and part mental. Give your mind 20 minutes or so to register the signal. This trains you when to stop eating.
Drink. Another tip is to drink a cup of water before eating and after finishing your plate. The liquid combined with your meal will help fill you up without adding calories.
Balance. A balanced meal includes protein, whole grains, vegetables or fruit, and dairy. It is possible to include each in a salad. This trains your body what to crave.
Your first plate should have a cup of every food group. If, after finishing with water you are not satisfied, you have two choices. Get another spoonful of each food group or more vegetables. Don’t try to fill up on potatoes, pasta, and bread.
Snack. Eat three main meals at the same times each day. This trains your body when to crave. Halfway between these meals, you can have a piece if fruit, handful of nuts, or a carrot.
If you eat less food at regular intervals, you will crave less. When going out to restaurants, ask for a to-go container with your meal. As soon as your food arrives, separate half of it for later. This helps if you have a tendency to eat until your plate is empty. Enjoy happier meals with a small plate and a smaller waistline.