Halal Consumer - Issue 27 - page 29

regular basis will lead to an expanding waistline. So what
should you do, stop eating the foods you love? Anyone who
has attempted to diet knows that is a recipe for failure.
What is the solution?
Stop the mindless eating
Does this scenario sound familiar? You are cuddled warm
in the evening watching TV with a bag of chips next to
you, munching along while enjoying your favorite show.
You reach for some more chips only to find the bag empty.
Who ate the chips? You opened a brand new bag and no
one was sharing it with you. You did not realize you ate
the whole bag; in other words, mindless eating. Without
realizing it, you just consumed over one thousand calories.
The solution according to Dr. Brian Wansink, the director
of Cornell University Food and Brand Lab and author of
Mindless Eating
, is to put a serving on a plate and leave the
bag of chips in the cupboard. Next time you want to enjoy
some cookies over coffee with a friend make sure to put
only a couple on your plate so you do not keep reaching
for more. Visual keys are most likely to make us stop eat-
ing. Dr. Wansink found in his research that most people do
not stop eating because they are full but due to an external
trigger, like the empty plate.
Focus on your food
Putting what we plan to eat on a plate is only part of the
solution: focusing on what we are eating also helps us stop
the mindless munching. Now back to the chips in front of
the TV. This time you put a serving on your plate and begin
surfing Facebook while munching along. But before you
know it your plate is empty and you are not feeling satisfied
at all. Do you remain frustrated because you did not enjoy
your snack? Or do you go get another plate? The correct
answer is neither! What you should have done was focused
on the food you ate the first time around. Eat far away from
electronics, books, televisions, and newspapers. Pay atten-
tion to what you are eating — its taste, texture, and smell.
By focusing on what you eat, all of your senses register that
you have eaten, inducing a feeling of satisfaction and satiety,
thereby minimizing the amount of food you need to consume
in order to feel full.
Use smaller plates
Most of us have been trained to finish all the food on our
plates while plate sizes have been gradually increasing for
years, according to Dr. Wansink. As a result, we keep fill-
ing bigger plates with more food, then forcing ourselves
to finish every last bit, consuming even more calories.
The painless solution is to use smaller plates, reducing
the amount of food and calories without wasting food.
Remember the hadith by Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be
Upon Him [PBUH]): “The worst container to be filled to
its utmost capacity is the stomach. It is enough for people
to eat what will suffice to keep them standing, but if that
is not attainable, then one third for food, one third for
drink, and one third empty for air” (Tirmidhi 2380). Using
smaller plates will make adhering to that hadith much sim-
pler. Overeating has numerous damaging effects: diabetes,
cancer, heart disease, and obesity just to name a few. It’s
easy to see how following the fourteen hundred year old
advice of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is crucial for main-
taining a healthy body.
Healthier cooking methods
In addition to reducing your portions when enjoying your
favorite foods, using healthier ingredients can boost nutri-
tion or reduce calories without sacrificing taste if you make
the right choices. Sneak pureed yellow squash into maca-
roni and cheese. Or simply add more vegetables to that
lasagna. These small changes will ensure the whole fam-
ily gets more fiber, increased nutrients, and less calories
and fat without changing the taste or texture. The volume
of the serving will not change, keeping the fullness fac-
tor (how full you feel after consuming a serving) the same
according to Dr. Barbara Rolls, Chair of the Nutritional
Sciences Department at Pennsylvania State University and
coauthor of
The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet
Using healthier fats also makes meals more nutritious.
By now you have probably heard that not all fats are cre-
ated equal, and it is actually essential to include healthy
fats in your diet. In short, saturated and trans fats increase
Winter 2013
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