Employee Benefits

Eat Less by Avoiding Distractions at Mealtime


Want to lose weight? Nutritionists say you eat less when you avoid distractions at mealtime.

Examine your meal and snacking habits. Is your focus on the food you’re consuming? Or are you doing other things while you eat, such as reading, watching TV, responding to texts/emails or working?

According to WebMD, research indicates that attentive eaters focus on the eating during meals and distracted eaters are not as aware of the foods and portion sizes they consume. Researchers discovered that distracted eaters tend to eat 10 percent more at meals and an additional 25 percent later in the day, mainly because the body was preoccupied and did not register the eating experience. But when people focus on the food they consume, they are more aware of the taste and impact on their body, and tend to eat less.

Prevention magazine offers tips to help people eat less, including the following recommendations:

  1. Plate the main course meal in the kitchen – Place plain veggies, salad and fruit on the table, but keep foods high in starches and fats in the kitchen to help keep portions under control
  2. Use smaller plates and tall, skinny glasses – Normal-size food portions look plentiful when served on a small plate, and people tend to drink less when beverages are served in thin glasses
  3. Listen while you eat – Enjoy the mealtime experience by putting down your fork between food bites and engaging in conversation with others
  4. Eating out? Divide food on the plate into portions – Before consuming any food items, split them into portions to enjoy now and later at home
  5. Chew gum or nibble on carrots while cooking – Keeping your mouth and taste buds busy helps you avoid enjoying too many taste tests before mealtime
  6. Keep snacks out of sight – Store tempting foods in cupboards or the pantry where you can’t see them easily
  7. No food with television or movies – Since many shows feature tempting foods, causing people to crave favorite snack items, determine in advance that TV time is a food-free activity

For more tips on eating less, read “16 Simple Ways to Eat Less.”