Mindless eating

The weekend was busy and you didn’t get a chance to do a proper shop. You get up and look into the press to see what the available options are. Unfortunately they are quite limited. In your mind, you were going to make an omelette but one solitary egg would make a measly omelette. Ah well, you don’t worry, that box of Special K will do the job. A large bowl with a drop of milk and a slice of toast has filled the gap and you are out the door to work. 

In work, you are having a break at 11.00. Jim your workmate is 30 so the boss has ordered in a nice tasty sponge cake. Everyone is having a bit of cake so you dig in, yummy! 

At lunch time, you pop out to the nearest shop to grab something. The nearest shop isn’t the best but will do the job in this situation. You scan the available options and decide to just get a sandwich and a cereal bar. The shop has limited options, but you console yourself with the notion that you did try to be healthy by getting the cereal bar instead of the chocolate option. 

You come home from a tough day at work and are starving, on the table is a box of biscuits. You are so hungry so you start nibbling on a few. You start throwing shape on dinner and before you know it, you’ve eaten three or four biscuits. After a little while you serve up dinner with your regular large plates. To fill the plate you need a relatively large portion and as you’ve put a good effort into making this meal, you leave none to waste. 

You are peckish after dinner and as you scan around the kitchen, you are presented with two options looking back at you. The biscuits (‘oh no I’ve had enough of them’ you think) and the box of cereal. You go for the cereal as you think that is the ‘healthy’ option. 

You can have all the nutrition knowledge you like but if your environment is working against you, you are setting yourself up for failure. 

There are many ways this person could have improved their food environment.

  • Ensure they do a shop with a variety of healthy food.
  • Be aware of portion sizes and use smaller plates and bowls when trying to eat less.
  • Have a bowl of fruit with two or more fruits instead of a bowl with crisps or biscuits.
  • Have healthy snacks available instead of toast and cereal- nuts, yogurt, fruit, unprocessed cheese, carrot stick are good options. 
  • Have lunch prepared for work and don’t run the risk of going to a shop with limited healthy food availability. 
  • Remove unhealthy snacks from view in the kitchen and put them into a cupboard that is awkward to get to and is out of the way. 
  • Work environments can also massively influence eating habits. Is your work place making you fat or fit!?

This blog was inspired by an excellent podcast by Danny Lennon with Brian Wansink. Well worth listening to for anyone interested in understanding how we can use our environment to help eat in a healthy manner. We make so many unconscious decisions about food but thankfully new can change our environment to work in our favour.

So good, I listened to it twice, fairly sad I know! 

But I do a lot of driving so that my excuse.


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2 responses to “Mindless eating

  1. Great post Philip and you captured and summarized all the best points excellently!

    • Cheers Danny, Yeah was hoping to capture most of the ideas in the little story so that people could get a sense of how it plays out in their own life. Very happy that you approved anyway!

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