Danger Zone #1: Cold weather
Scientists say that a biological urge to stockpile kilojoules makes us eat more, often richer, food in winter. Avoid this by serving up soups and stews. Add plenty of vegies and beans for heartiness, so you won’t be tempted to snack later on. Try enjoying a cuppa about 45 minutes before a meal as well. Filling up on healthy fluids helps you eat less.
Danger Zone #2: Meeting up with loved ones
Research shows we eat around 44 per cent more kilojoules when we’re with friends and family. Rein it in by being a BYO superstar – pack your own healthy platters or vegie sticks and dips to share. And scale down your portion sizes. According to US research, we enjoy the first few mouthfuls of food the most. Why? Because our tastebuds are tiny chemical sensors, and they begin to tire after a few bites. So take a small portion rather than piling it on.
Danger Zone #3: Bad day pick-me-ups
Had a long day? Studies show that high-fat, high-sugar foods can help numb your feelings, which explains why we turn to them when anxious. Counter this by planning ahead for stressful periods by making and freezing portions of stews, soups and curries. Also, try swapping stress eating for deep breathing (count to four with each in and out breath), or going outside in the fresh air for a stroll.
Danger Zone #4: Friday night drinks
The high sugar content of alcohol can affect your waistline and your blood glucose levels. Keep your head by avoiding salty foods. As well as being high in fat, they make you thirsty, so you drink more. Instead, eat something filling, like hummus and vegie sticks, before arriving. And alternate alcoholic drinks with water. This prevents dehydration (which can affect your blood glucose levels) and a hangover.
Danger Zone #5: The office biscuit tin
If you can’t banish it, at least avoid it! Keep it in a cupboard or use a bickie-free tearoom, if possible. Studies have shown that high visibility and convenience (meaning having treats within easy reach) increase consumption levels.