Save on your heating bills and rev your metabolism: Does it sound too good to be true? Turns out, cooler temps activate brown fat in your body, which actually helps burn calories and may prevent obesity and diabetes. According to recent research in Diabetes, setting the bedroom thermostat at 66 degrees F. helped people burn up to 175 more calories each night compared to when they slept at a more balmy 75 degrees F. Those numbers add up, so turn down the heat while you sleep to crank up the burn. - Lainley Younkin, M.S., R.D. from Eating Well Jan/Feb 2015
No matter how serious you are about watching your weight, practicing portion control, and maintaining good eating habits, it’s easy to find yourself in certain situations that can really test your willpower. Here are some common “danger zones” to watch out for when you’re trying to stick to a healthy, low-calorie eating plan. It’s important to know your overeating triggers because then you can plan ahead and deal with the situation, says Marjorie Nolan, RD, a national spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association and a nutrition and fitness consultant in private practice in New York City.
Eating in Front of the TV The problem with eating in front of the TV is that you’re not giving your meal or snack your full attention. Realistically, though, if you’re alone, you might want the TV for company. “If you are going to watch TV and eat, prepare your meal fully and portion it out,” Nolan says. Once you’ve eaten what’s on your plate, STOP. Also, give yourself a set timeframe. Eat during just one half-hour show and not all night with the TV on.
Buffet Dining Here’s a way to approach the buffet table without overeating: Fill up ONE plate with small portions and STOP. Practice portion control by taking less of the unhealthy choices. Another trick: Make several trips, but limit yourself to one food group each time. For example, start with portions of vegetables, go for protein the next time, and carbs last. “Filling up your plate according to food groups helps you be more in control and have a sense of what you’re eating,” Nolan says.
Weekend Indulgences “We always talk about how not to overeat at the party,” Nolan says. But the day after can be just as challenging. People rationalize by saying, “I’m already overeating, so I’ll wait until Monday to resume my good eating habits.” It’s fine to overindulge for an evening, but start back on your eating plan with portion control immediately afterward. You’ll only make it worse if you continue overeating. “It needs to stay just at that party or evening,” Nolan,says “Give yourself a specific timeframe.”
Dining-Out Diet Disasters Never arrive at the table famished. It’s really hard to maintain good eating habits and have portion control when you’re starved. To avoid overeating, have a few carrots or almonds before you leave to meet your friends. If you’re drinking alcohol, limit yourself to two drinks at most to save on calories and keep from getting inebriated and losing your self-control. Another tip: Space your two drinks at least an hour apart. That way you won’t feel deprived, Nolan says.
Vacation Eating A good way to avoid overeating while on vacation is to decide each morning which of your three meals will be your special one. “Keep it to one indulgent meal a day, not three,” Nolan says. One day it might be breakfast, the next dinner. Having one meal a day that is beyond your normal eating habits and higher in calories is fine as long as you’re not doing this all day. If you want dessert, share the portion with fellow vacationers.
Meals on the Go Pack healthy meals and exert portion control on snacks for when you’re traveling. “I rarely leave it up to the gods where I eat when I’m on the road because you never know what they’re going to have,” Nolan says. “If you pack non-perishables and don’t eat them because you found a good restaurant, you can save them, and you’re not wasting.” Portion your snacks in individual baggies. If you must take the original bag, include a measuring tool so you can eat the right portions.
Emotional Snacking Some people find themselves overeating when they’re upset or under stress. If you’re having an emotional time, the solution is to be conscious of how your eating habits are being affected. Keep a food journal to help you see the portion sizes you’re eating. Another trick is to do something fun that doesn’t involve food to distract you from your worries. Get your nails done. Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while and have a long chat. Take a hike. Ride a bike.
Eating on the Job When you’re really busy at work, you tend to eat quickly and not pay attention to portions or calories. Again, the answer to portion control is to plan ahead. Pack lunches and snacks the night before that will fill you up during the day. You won’t have to run to the convenience store around the corner and grab the first thing you see or risk overeating. Also, force yourself to stop work for just 15 minutes to eat. You need the break, and you’ll feel fuller if you take time out to eat.
Sleep-Induced Hunger When you’re overtired, it’s easy to eat mindlessly and before you know it, you’re overeating 1,000 extra calories. One solution is to take a nap rather than reach for another portion of peanut butter cookies. If it’s late at night and you’re about to start overeating, go to bed rather instead of wandering into the kitchen.
Meals to Go can help with the above categories:
Eating in front of the TV - our meals are already portioned for you
Weekend Indulgences - after you've had that wonderful meal out, then Meals to Go are waiting for you back at home, portioned just so you are getting the right amount of calories and not overeating. It's ok to splurge once in a while.
Eating on the Job - we've already pre-packaged and pre-portioned your meals for you. Take them to work or to school. Eat good tasting food that is healthy, too.
Our goal with "Meals to Go" is to help people eat great tasting food, be healthier and have more time to do what they want.
Michelle Devaney, Owner/Chef
I love to cook. But more importantly, I love to cook for other people.