Today we are going to look at how we can end up eating more calories than we need or even want, without even realising it. We are going to focus on snack foods.
I like my savoury foods and if I'm having a treat i'd much prefer crisps to chocolate, particularly Kettle Chips, so on a Saturday night I might sit down with Joanne, a glass of wine and a large 150g bag of Kettle Chips. If Joanne doesn't want any I will usually get through half a bag before stopping, which is quite a lot of crisps. However if I bought the multipacks that generally come with 30g per bag after finishing the first packet I would have go get another bag from the kitchen and open it to get more crisps. This gives me more time to think about if I actually want more, compared with having a big open bag in front of me. If I was trying to be good, chances are this extra time and effort would be enough to help me make the right decision not to have any more. Even if I did go for another packet I would still be eating roughly 15g less than with a big bag, and there's no way I'd go back for thirds that would be glutenous. It's the same for sweet treats, Joanne like ice cream. Give her a tub of Ben & Jerry's and she can easily devour half of it, which is over 500kcal. Give her a Magnum on the other hand and she would be just as happy and for only 250kcal and like with the crisps if she wanted more, she would have to go to the freezer and open a second ice cream, which again would be glutenous and if you are trying to lose weight, there is a very good chance you can talk yourself out of eating two ice creams.
A study was done at a cinema, where before the film everyone was given a packet of M&M's, some were given 50g packs, the others 100g. At the end of the film the bags were weighed to see how much people had eaten, the ones with the larger bags had eaten, on average, 150kcal more than the people given 50g bags.
The more food you have in front of you, the more you will eat.
If your preferred treat only comes in large packets, or you buy bigger packs because they are generally cheaper than individually wrapped foods, there are still things you can do to prevent this mindless eating.
Chocolate Bourbons is another favoured weekend treat in our house and even in the smaller packs you get about 20 biscuits. If you have 20 biscuits sat in front of you, whilst you're watching a film, you are not going to eat just 3 or 4. So take 3 or 4 out of packet, put them on a plate, then wrap the remaining pack up, put a rubber band round it and place it at the bag of a cupboard, the top of high shelf or even better in the shed. The more obstacles you put in your way, the more chance you have to decide if you really want more biscuits.
Everybody needs to have some nice, indulgent food in their diet. It helps you stick to eating well the majority of the time, but there is no need to be excessive with the amount you have. A full tub of Ben & Jerry's can undo 2 or 3 days of good eating in only half an hour. Give yourself as much opportunity to decide if it is really worth it or not and be in control of the amount you have, rather then mindlessly eating, just because it is there.