Fight A Losing Battle? Holiday Eating: Use Smaller Plates

Fight A Losing Battle? Holiday Eating: Use Smaller Plates

Though most won't worry about their weight loss New Years resolution until after Christmas and New Years, Kentz Willis, health educator with the University of Wyoming Extension Office has some tips so maybe you won't have to lose quite as much.

Some might say that controlling eating during the holidays isn't even worth trying. Willis disagrees.

Willis says availability and effort are big contributors. He says its not quite laziness but people do tend to go for things that are easy and right in front of them. For example, the candy dish. Solving that problem is as easy as moving the dish a little further away from your desk at work. Willis says that research has shown a dish six feet away will be visited half as many times as one that's within arms reach.

He says people think they put more thought into food decisions than they really do. Most people think they make 20-50 food decisions per day when in fact they make 200, most of them under their level of consciousness – like the candy jar decision.

One small step to fight holiday overindulgence is controlling portion sizes. People that serve themselves bigger portions will eat most of it. He says that we eat 95 percent of what we put on our plates. A study was done in a movie theater where people were given medium sized buckets of popcorn and large sized buckets. People who had the bigger buckets ate 51 percent more than the medium sized group and didn't even realize it.

There are a lot of things working against you during the holidays: distractions, variety and social atmosphere all drive up consumption, he said. One tip: If there's an option between big plates and small plates, maybe pick the small plate this year for some easy portion control. Finally, leave a little white space, don't mound.

Kentz Willis is an extension educator with the University of Wyoming Extension Office and works in five counties in northeast Wyoming.

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