Three simple concepts that can save a ton of calories:
Food Trade-offs, Food Policies, and the Power of Three
I’m reading a really great book at the moment called Mindless Eating.
The whole concept of the book is that we are very susceptible to habits and things in our environment that make us eat more than we actually need or want. Other people, packaging, and the places that we eat and drink in can massively influence how much we consume, and the book cites loads of interesting studies that prove that.
By understanding how this works, we can save ourselves thousands of calories that are consumed each year without realising. And by doing that, you can get (and stay) slim and healthy without feeling like you’re on diet.
A few useful ideas from the book are Food Trade-offs, Food Policies and the Power of Three.
A little bit about each is listed below.
Food trade offs
‘If I do X, then I can have Y’
• If I’ve done a workout / hit 12,000 steps, I can have dessert tonight
• If I don’t have snacks today, I can have a starter at dinner when I go out
• If I have salad instead of chips, I can have a glass of wine too
• If I go for an extra 30 minute walk today, I can have a small bar of chocolate after dinner
• If I stick to my calories during the week and exercise, I can go out for dinner at the weekend and choose what I really want to have
Food trade-offs can work really well because you don’t have to deny yourself the foods you love. You just have to make a small concession in the name of good health and keeping on track with your goals. It’s the best of both worlds. Using trade-offs can put you back in charge of your food decisions by raising the ‘price you pay’ for overeating.
• I only eat sugary foods once a week
• I don’t drink alcohol during the week
• I only have one plate of food at buffets / dinners
• I use the smaller set of bowls and plates for my meals
• I always fill half my dinner plate with vegetables
Food policies can be helpful because they eliminate certain habits and decisions that can cause us to overeat. By limiting sugary foods and alcohol to once a week / at the weekend, you don’t need to make the decision whether or not to have it on other days. By having the policies of just having one plate full of food / using smaller bowls and plates / filling half your plate with veggies, you automatically reduce the amount of calories you would otherwise have had, while most likely still feeling pretty satisfied if you eat slowly and mindfully.
Power of Three
What are three small changes you can make to your daily habits or routines that would save you around 100 calories per day?
• Eat from smaller plates
• Measure out porridge or cereal (weigh on scale or use a measuring cup)
• Fill half your dinner plate with veggies
• Have an options hot chocolate when tempted to snack on biscuits / chocolate
• Drink a glass of water before each meal
• Choose snacks that are 100 cals or less
• Have a clementine or small apple instead of a trek bar
• Cook with frylite rather than oil
• Add an extra 20 minutes of walking to your day to earn 100 extra calories instead
A great tip from the book is to pick three changes you could make and create a check list for them for one month. Each day tick of each of the three changes you managed to stick to. You probably won’t do every day perfectly, but things will start to become a habit over the month. Making positive changes that become mindless is the goal.
If you found any of these tips helpful, I’d love to hear back from you.
And if you’re interested in checking out the book (I definitely recommend it; it’s a really interesting read) you can find it here: