Avoid the overeating bug

You can still have an enjoyable meal while avoiding overeating.

Someone clutching a large handful of potato chips.
Photo: Pexels/Tim Samuel.

Even without holidays, there are still celebrations and get-togethers occurring. The sweets, treats and savory comfort foods tend to pop-up everywhere. With all of these delicious temptations, how do we avoid overeating without sacrificing our favorite foods? Here are some tips from Michigan State University Extension.

  • If you find yourself wanting something to eat, ask yourself why. Are you eating because the food is there or because your body is telling you that you need nourishment? Be mindful.
  • Don’t skip meals to "bank" your calories for that big dinner or dessert. Skipping these meals can increase your chances of overeating later and can slow down your metabolism. Instead, try eating small, balanced meals that will keep you satisfied, but still leave you with an appetite for the bigger meal.
  • Slow down! Do you find yourself scarfing down your food? Take your time while eating your meals. It takes about 20 minutes to complete the message of fullness from our stomach to our brain. After your first helping, wait a few minutes. If you are still hungry, then help yourself to a  second helping.
  • Craving some sweets? It’s OK to indulge in some cookies or a piece of cake, but if you find yourself overeating, consider treating yourself to a peppermint or hard candy. This can help satisfy your sweet tooth without contributing extra, unwanted calories and sugar.
  • Portion out your food. Following the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines, your plate should be filled half with fruits and vegetables, one-quarter with grains (preferably whole grains) and one-quarter proteins. Add a serving from the milk group and you have a balanced plate and a balanced meal.
  • Don’t forget to move. With the colder weather, many of us spend more time inside where it is warm. Just because you cannot get physical activity outside does not mean there aren’t ways for you to move around and get your heart pumping. Adults should get around two-and-a-half hours (150 minutes) of aerobic activity each week. Pairing physical activity with a healthy diet is a great way to stay healthy anytime of the year. So, find something that gets your heart pumping and move.

Do not let the fear of overeating keep you away from enjoying your favorite foods. Eating these treats in moderation is okay. For more information, visit MSU Extension's Weight Management website.

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