Research shows that folks who shop for food when they're hungry tend to buy higher-calorie items.

The following post was adapted from our Health-e-Weight enewsletter.

Summer is a few weeks away, and many of us are looking for ways to slim down.  The challenge is that food is everywhere, making it easy to overeat. Often hunger and taste appeal are further down the pecking order of why we eat. Much has been written and studied regarding the concept of mindless eating. Here’s a summary of tips to help us not overconsume calories.

  • Pay attention to plate/bowl and utensil sizes. Using smaller items generally results in smaller amounts.
  • Keep calorie-dense foods less visible. If it is around, you are more likely to eat. On the other hand, keep lesser-calorie items like fruits and vegetables more handy.
  • Be the first to order at a restaurant. We sometimes get derailed if we follow the not-so-healthy ordering tendencies of others dining with us.
  • Keep food off the table at dinner. Studies show that if it is left on the counter or stove, less is eaten.
  • Don’t be fooled by some product advertising. Items touted as organic or low-fat should not suggest an abandonment of amount.
  • Don’t snack from the box or package. Pre-portion an amount out. Even though it is possible to go back for extra servings, it won’t be as convenient.
  • Eat in a limited number of areas. Refrain from eating in the car, at your work desk, or near computer or TV at home. Aim for all eating to be in the dining room or kitchen.
  • Limit shopping when hungry. Newer data shows you may not necessarily buy more, but may be likely to buy processed, convenient-style items that often come with more calories.

Eating for hunger and enjoyment is the key. Calories can add up quickly, so you want to make them truly count. Take the time to savor every bite, flavor, and texture. Not only will this make for a more rewarding eating experience but go a long way in helping thwart unwanted pounds.

Consider preparing this healthy and delicious recipe:
Heart-Healthy Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

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