Does your home environment encourage mindless eating? Learn how to alter food cues for weight-loss success

  • 2 Minutes Read
Sue Heikkinen
Sue Heikkinen, MS, RDN, CDCES, BC-ADM, ACE-PT - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist Educator

Take charge of mindless eating by altering your food cues in your home. The best part? You won't even notice you are eating less when you make these simple changes.

Mindless eating

What is mindless eating?

Have you ever found yourself surprised by the amount of food you've eaten? Do you sometimes not even remember enjoying or tasting your food? Do you grab chips from the pantry, even though you aren't actually hungry? If so, you've experienced mindless eating, meaning you ate in response to external rather than internal hunger cues.

Sometimes we are aware of external cues, such as a tempting pizza commercial on TV or a stressful day that leads to a powerful ice cream craving. Yet, often the prompts are more subtle.

Change up these common food cues to help avoid mindless eating

Container size

What happens: We eat more from larger bowls, dishes, and packages. Even people who research this topic get tricked into eating more when served food from a bigger container.

Strategies:

Sight of food

What happens: We are more likely to eat what is in front of us, and we eat more when the food is easily accessible and in our line of sight.

Strategies:

Screens

What happens: You may have an association between watching TV or working at the computer and snacking on something crunchy.

Strategies:

Build positive cues

Signals to eat mindlessly are everywhere and not always possible to avoid. That is why it is essential to replace such traps with positive cues to remind you to be active and eat well.

Applying these strategies to thwart habitual mindless eating can help you tip the scale off a stubborn plateau, trim a few inches with little effort, and decrease sneaky snacks in favor of nutritious ones.

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Original contribution from Kathy Isacks MPS, RDN, CDCES

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Feb 9, 2022

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