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Think Before You Eat

Sep 12, 2013

Hopefully everyone has recuperated from AADE13.  Remember, it’s not over. Do not just file your new knowledge away. I encourage you to continue thinking about how you can use your new (or reinforced) information from the conference to make positive changes to benefit patients in your practice.

One of the topics that I decided to work on is implementing the idea of “Mindful Eating.” It’s this concept of not just sticking food into your mouth, but to actually think about what you are eating, how it tastes and make a conscious decision about how much you plan to eat.

Here are some tips to help you and your patients to eat more mindfully:

  • Read labels on packaging for portion size, CHO, PRO, and FAT content. Remember to make proper adjustments if the packaging contains more than one serving.  Do not be surprised if the company’s idea of a “serving size” is different than what you would consider a serving.  For example, I bought a package of sausages to grill which had six links, but according to the package labeling, it contained seven servings.  I suppose the company expected me to cut a small piece off each link to make it stretch to seven servings?  FYI, that did not happen.
  • Do not eat out of the bag.  Treat each snack as a mini meal by measuring out the portion size.  If possible, put your ‘mini meal’ on a dessert-sized plate as people tend to associate a clean plate with satisfaction and a feeling of fullness. I am sure we have all sat down with a bag of chips or nuts and before you know it, over half the bag has disappeared.
  • Don’t make snacking a daily routine.  Only have a snack when you are hungry.  Skip the urge to nibble when bored, stressed or tired.  If a snack is needed to prevent low blood sugars, please discuss possible medication changes with the medical team.  As people get motivated to lose weight and cut out some of their high calorie meals and/or snacks, it is possible that less medications will be needed.
  • When snacking, don’t multitask.  The amount you consume can get away from you.  Enjoy the flavor and appreciate the feeling.
  • If you snack, it may be necessary to cut back on the portion size of the next meal to avoid weight gain.  Remember, overall calories count.
  • Avoid situations that may trigger overeating or snack attacks - if you tend to overeat at buffet type restaurants – STAY AWAY.  If you know you can’t eat just one, don’t even start. That way you will not be tempted to finish what you started.
  • If you tend to snack while you read in a certain location, move locations.  Remember, in order to get something different, you have to do something different.

Share these ideas with your patients or with family and friends and hopefully mindful eating will become a way of life.

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