(RxWiki News) Eating mindfully is key if you're trying to improve your diet or maintain a healthy weight. But mindless snacking can sink a healthy diet fast.
That's because mindless snacking can lead to consuming too many calories and too much salt, sugar or both.
The good news is that you can avoid mindless snacking. To eat more mindfully, start by following these easy tips.
1. Use (Small) Serving Dishes
To avoid eating a whole bag of chips, you need to make sure you never eat directly from the package. That means you need to put snacks into serving dishes like plates and bowls.
But you can take this tip a step further by making sure you use small serving dishes — preferably small enough to look full when they contain one full serving of your snack of choice.
That way, you get the illusion of a very full plate or bowl, and you can eat until it's all gone without going overboard.
2. Go for Single-Serve
If you're buying packaged snacks, look for a single-serve option rather than the bulk variety. For example, if you're snacking on chips, buy a pack of small, single-serving bags of chips rather than a family-size bag.
The reason why is similar to the reasoning behind the first tip: You can eat an entire bag of single-serve chips without exceeding recommended calorie, fat, sugar or sodium limits.
And when you've finished one bag, you're done. You know exactly how much you've eaten, which is key to mindful eating.
3. Opt for Fruits and Veggies
In almost every case, fresh fruits and vegetables are healthier dietary choices than packaged snacks. So, if you make a rule that you only snack on fresh fruits and veggies, you're already giving your diet a healthy boost.
There's a hidden benefit of this strategy that can also help you avoid mindless snacking: Most fruits and vegetables require preparation. Whether it's washing, chopping, peeling, pitting, juicing or something else, you have to prepare these healthy snacks, which allows you to regulate the serving size you set out for yourself.
4. Put the Healthy Snacks in Plain View
It's just human nature: We tend to reach for snacks that are most convenient. That can sink your healthy diet plans quickly if you have a lot of convenient unhealthy snacks around.
But you can also reverse this rule to avoid mindless and unhealthy snacking. How? By putting the healthy snacks at eye level in your cabinets or fridge or even out and visible on your counters. That means you'll be much more likely to reach for a healthy snack the next time you get hungry.
5. Don't Eat in Front of the TV
This is one of the most important ways to avoid mindless snacking: Focus on what you're doing, which is eating. In other words, don't let yourself be distracted by the TV, your phone or your computer while you're eating a snack.
Why? Because if you aren't thinking about it, you can eat way more than you intend to. Or you can lose track of how much you've already eaten.
Talk to your health care provider about how to make healthy changes to your diet.