Little bits of food can either expand your waist or shrink it. It all depends on what you eat and when.
Think “tapas” or “finger foods” or even “amuse-bouche” and suddenly they become something more than just a snack. It becomes something you want to sit down and pay attention to.
That is the point. Changing what you call a small meal changes the way you see it. By making it worthy of a special name, you have taken the first step toward “mindful eating” which can change your life.
Think about cooking a big meal where everything has to be tasted and seasoned just so. It used to be we did this quite often, now it happens mostly during the holidays. But each bite, sip, or taste was done without considering the accumulation of calories. It is easy to consume more than 500 calories with mindless sampling.
By calling your food something special, you become aware of what you’re putting into your mouth. Taking the time to enjoy it and celebrate is the next step.
Watch what time you want to snack. Those who snack during the morning hours have been determined to snack with greater abandon throughout the day. The more you snack, the more calories you ingest. Calorie deficit is the only way to take weight off. Afternoon snackers tended to choose healthier options such as fruit or vegetables.
Pay attention to how much you are eating. Again, mindful eating. When researchers put chips in a bowl, one bowl was a uniform color of corn chip, the other bowl had different layers of colors between their usual chips. This helped people to pay attention to how much they consumed.
Eat some protein. This might be why tapas are so popular because tiny tacos with a bit of meat and vegetable in them often hold people longer than a snack of pure carbohydrates.
Trade hands. This is a fun experiment. If you’re normally right-handed, then determine that you will only snack using your left hand. For lefties, reverse. By using the non-dominant hand, you will likely eat far less than you would using your right hand. It is a step toward mindful eating because you have to pay attention to your hand. Your dominant hand knows you’re not watching.
Lowfat usually means extra salt and sugar. When a snack has been revised to a reduced fat version, flavor has to be increased somewhere, and it often means more sugar and salt. Read the label rather than believe the marketing.