Sticking to a Healthy Eating Resolution

January 6th 2020 at 2:47pm

Most of us often fail at maintaining diets yet restart the cycle annually. The book Hanger Management by Susan Alber, talks about the science of habits and specific steps you can take to make your good intentions to eat healthier last throughout the entire year. Here are a few tips from the book that you can try. 

Rethink Breakfast: Approximately 40% of Americans don’t eat breakfast in the morning, which is a huge cause of mid-morning hanger. People surveyed often stated, "I am not a breakfast person.” There is recent research that looked at why we choose certain foods for breakfast. The result is that we are very mentally stuck on what we consider to be “breakfast foods.” These foods, like muffins and donuts, are like sugar bombs or dessert masquerading as breakfast. In Asian and European countries, people eat protein and fiber-rich foods in the morning like rice, fish, lunch meat, baked beans, and cheese for breakfast. So, if you want a hearty stew or lunch meat sandwich that will keep you feeling full — even if it's not traditionally considered breakfast food (like cereal, muffins, toast, etc.) — go for it. 

Add Cinnamon: Drastic swings in blood sugar are a big cause of emotional eating. Research shows that cinnamon can help to regulate your blood sugar. In a 2016 study, subjects consumed just 1 g (a bit less than half a teaspoon) of cinnamon daily for 12 weeks and found positive change in their blood sugar levels. Toss a shaker of cinnamon in your bag or purse. Add cinnamon to your coffee or cocoa. Buy some cinnamon sticks and use them to stir your coffee, tea, yogurt, or soup. Or throw a whole stick in the pan while cooking meat or vegetables. Start your morning with cinnamon: on oatmeal, granola, toast, yogurt, cereal, or whatever you like for breakfast or on berries and apples.

Mindful Smile: Want to remind or motivate yourself to eat a healthy snack to avoid hanger? In a recent study at an elementary school, green smiley face emoticons were places on healthy foods in the lunch line. More kids selected more white milk when the smiley faces were added. And chocolate milk consumption fell too. Another study added a green heart with a smiley face above a display of healthy fruits and vegetables at a cafeteria. This boosted the purchasing of fruits and vegetables significantly. So, draw a smiley face on a Post-it Note, and stick it on any mindful snack you would like to make sure you eat. Or take a marker and draw a smile right on the box or wrapper! 

Use Red Plates: In a study that looked at the use of red, blue, and white plates,  researchers found that people ate less food when using red plates. In other words, when we see the color red, we automatically and subconsciously slow down. But you don’t have to stop there. Think about using red cups, red utensils, and red napkins, too!

Eat Pumpkin Seeds: Studies show that eating 65 g of pumpkin seeds reduces spikes in blood sugar following a meal — which makes it a great snack for turning hanger to happiness.

Sleep Mindfully: Just 15 minutes more of sleep can do wonders to reducing your vulnerability to hanger. Sleep helps to regulate your appetite hormones so you don’t feel ravenous. If you have difficulty sleeping, try tart cherries. In two studies, adults with insomnia who drank 8 oz (237 ml) of tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks slept about an hour and a half longer and reported better sleep quality compared to nights they did not drink the juice.


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