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Posts Tagged ‘Distracted Eating’

Four year olds can be frustrating at times especially when it comes to eating. I can remember when my four year old daughter would simply refuse to eat at the dinner time. “I’m not hungry daddy” she quipped as she would play with her food. As a parent I would have a few options a.) make her stay at the table until she finishes her plate, b.) send her to bed without supper, or c.) put her food in the refrigerator for later. The correct answer is “c.”

In most cases, children, toddlers and infants are actually better “intuitive eaters” than adults. In other words, they respond better to hunger and fullness cues. Unfortunately for adults, our eating habits have been corrupted by our environments. How so?

  • We grew up in the “clean plate club.” Our moms and dads made us finish everything on our plates. Today, portion sizes keep getting bigger (in 2050 a regular soda at the movies will fill a water cooler jug if current trend continues) and these values, although helpful during times of hardship, might contribute to eating too much.

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  • We eat to cope with emotions. When food is plentiful, we eat when we are stressed or bored. Although this behavior is normal in moderation, it is problematic if it happens too much.
  • We eat too quickly. This was a problem in my family growing up- my dad and I would finish before my mom sat down at the table. Today, our environment promotes fast eating. We have only so much time at work for lunch and our children, in some cases, have only ten to fifteen minutes to eat at school. Eating quickly does not allow us to respond to our fullness cues and again we might eat too much.
  • We skip meals all together. Many skip breakfast and lunch and eat only one meal a day. By the time dinner arrives, well let’s just say horses better hide! Sometimes, people can eat more in one meal than eating smaller meals throughout the day.
  • We go on extreme weight loss diets. In a culture of “thinness” the temptation is to go on diets where food is restricted and hunger cues are ignored. For many this promotes obesity because the body may become more efficient at converting food to fat when normal eating patterns return after the diet.
  • We practice “distracted” eating. We eat when we drive; we eat in front of the T.V.  and at events. In these situations, we are distracted from our hunger and fullness.

According to the CDC, obesity and associated chronic diseases such as diabetes are growing problems in all demographic groups. Although the etiology of problem is complex, our environment that discourages intuitive eating is a factor. We eat way too much and do not get enough physical activity. According to “Health for Every Body” developed by University of Missouri Extension, there are several things that families can do to promote intuitive eating for health and wellness:

  • Avoid distracted eating by encouraging family meals. According to Thriving Newsletter by University of Missouri Extension, several studies have demonstrated that families that eat together at the table actually are healthier.
  • Avoid extreme weight loss diets. Rather, set behavior goals rather than weight goals. For example try to set a weekly walking goal than a goal to lose 10 pounds in a week. In addition, your children will not model your dieting which could potentially lead to an eating disorder.
  • Eat breakfast. Research clearly shows that those who eat breakfast have better health outcomes.
  • Slow down. Put your utensils down between bites. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness.
  • Pay attention to emotional eating. Find other healthy behaviors such as walking to replace food. Snack on healthy food such as fruits or vegetables.

Dan Remley, MSPH, PhD

Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

OSU Extension

 

Reviewed by Susan Zies, Extension Educator

OSU Extension, Wood County

Sources: A New You: Health for Every Body, University of Missouri Extension

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buffetAs we enter the holiday season, we are often participating in pot-luck celebrations at work and dinners with family and friends. What are some steps we can take to help avoid food borne illnesses at these happy occasions?

If you are the one preparing the food, remember the four basic food safety rules: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill. By following these four simple rules, you can help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria which could make your family ill and make your holidays less than jolly!

  • Clean. Begin by washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after handling food. Be sure that countertops, cutting boards and utensils are clean by washing with hot soapy water. Rinse fruits and vegetables that are not being cooked under cool running water.
  • Separate. Help prevent cross contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry and seafood away from ready to eat foods in your shopping cart and your refrigerator. Use one cutting board for these raw foods and another for salads and ready to eat food.
  • Cook. Use a food thermometer to tell if a food is cooked to a safe temperature – just going by color is not sufficient. Always bring sauces, soups, etc to a rolling boil when reheating. If using a microwave oven, cover, stir and rotate the food to ensure even cooking.
  • Chill.  Remember the “danger zone” where bacteria can grow rapidly, 40° – 140°F. Keep the refrigerator below 40°F., use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature. Thaw meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator, not on the counter. After the meal, chill leftover foods within 2 hours and put food into shallow containers to allow for quick cooling.

If you are participating in a pot-luck lunch at work or school, there are some things to keep in mind for food safety. The most important rule to follow is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold! Avoid the “danger zone”! It is often a good idea to appoint one person to make sure that foods are being kept at a safe temperature.

  • Foods that are to be served hot should be kept above 140°F.
  • Cold foods should be kept below 40°F.
  • Make sure that the surfaces where food will be served are clean.
  • Do not allow food to sit out for over 2 hours.
  • Any food that has not been kept at a safe temperature should be discarded after 2 hours.

So enjoy the holidays and the events that accompany them while keeping yourself, your family, friends and co-workers safe from food borne illness.

Sources:

Safe Food Handling Factsheets http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling

Be Food Safe   www.befoodsafe.org 

EXTENSION CONNECTION: Keeping Food Safe (pot luck party tips) http://www.crestviewbulletin.com/news/community/extension-connection-keeping-food-safe-potluck-party-tips-1.56092?page=2 

Author: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County

Reviewer: Linette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

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Laptop on Kitchen Table with Cup of CoffeeShould you eat lunch at your desk?

Do you find yourself eating at your desk at work more and more often?  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports that at least 83% of Americans eat at their desk several times a week. While many of us would prefer to have lunch with a friend or at least go out for lunch, we often find ourselves “too busy” to do so.

So is eating at your desk healthy?  When we eat at our desk, we often are totally unaware of just what and how much we are eating. We’re not focused on the food as we answer emails, sort papers and answer phone calls. But you can make healthy choices by bringing your lunch from home and avoiding take-out lunches which can tend to have excess calories, fat, and sodium and are often lacking in nutrients. Some healthy lunch choices could include:

  • A salad with added protein and fiber – some leftover chicken, healthy beans and/or nuts.
  • A whole grain wrap filled with veggies.
  • Homemade or low-sodium prepared soup that you can heat in the microwave.
  • Yogurt with added fruit and granola.
  • A sweet potato or fresh vegetables that you can pop into the microwave.
  • Water with a slice of lemon, lime or orange.
  • For a sweet ending to your lunch, fresh fruit makes a great dessert.

If you are bringing your lunch from home, use an insulated lunch bag with a freezer pack to keep your food cold until you can put it in the refrigerator at work. You want to be sure and wash your hands before eating your lunch and clean your desk top. According to an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics survey only 36 percent of survey respondents said they clean their work areas, desktop, mouse and keyboard on a weekly basis; 64 percent said they do so on a monthly basis or less.

A 2007 study from the University of Arizona found that desktops have 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table and 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat!

So, if you are going to eat at your desk, take a few minutes to disinfect the area before opening your food. Once you start eating, avoid touching your phone, mouse,
etc. as you could be constantly re-contaminating your food.  You might also use a placemat or at least a paper towel under your lunch for added protection!

To answer the question, eating at your desk is not the healthiest activity!  Not only are you likely to eat more unhealthy foods, you are risking contaminating your food and potentially becoming ill. Take a little time for yourself at lunch time – walk to the kitchen or break room, invite a co-worker to join you and enjoy that healthy lunch you have prepared!

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@sou.edu

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Treber.1@osu.edu

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/7-tips-eating-while-you-work

http://www.eatright.org/Media/content.aspx?id=6442464916&terms=lunch%20food%20safety#.Uwd2PMYo7DQ

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Tis the season for chocolate. Most of us love chocolate anytime of the year but from Halloween to Valentine’s Day, chocolate seems to be all around us.Chocolate

Is dark chocolate really good for you? Do the flavanols in chocolate really help you?

Chocolate or cocoa powder does have flavanols. The cocoa bean is a rich source of flavanols which are a group of phytochemicals in food.

However, depending on how the cocoa bean is processed many flavanols can be lost. Flavanols tend to be bitter tasting, so manufacturers roast, ferment, pulverize, and sometimes alkalinize the cocoa bean to improve taste. Thus, it is hard to know how much benefit is in that chocolate piece.

• Consuming a large amount of cocoa flavanols has produced benefits including improved endothelial function (dilation of the artery). This helps blood flow through the arteries and may help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.
• Some promises of lowering blood pressure and improving brain function have been seen with consuming large amounts of chocolate.
• Sorry, but chocolate does not help you lose weight. Studies show the more chocolate you eat the more weight you gain.Cocoa

So, how do you get the benefits of the cocoa bean without gaining a lot of weight? Using or eating cocoa powder is your best source. Two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder will provide you with 200 mg of flavanols and about 20 calories. You could try adding it to your coffee, warm milk, oatmeal or yogurt. That is unsweetened, so if you add sweetener the calorie content will jump. To get 200 mg of flavanols you can choose baking chocolate (unsweetened) providing about 70 calories; 1-1/2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips providing 200 calories or 2 ounces of dark chocolate (at least 65%) with 320 calories. Forget milk chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate syrup as they have few flavanols and lots of calories.

Enjoy chocolate in moderation, yes benefits, but also calories.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Fayette County

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County

References:
Schardt, D. [2013]. How bittersweet it is, Nutrition Action HealthLetter, December 2013. 40(10). 8-11.
Zeratsky, K. [2012]. Can chocolate be good for my health? Available at http://mayoclinic.com

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Do you eat while watching TV? Or in front of your computer?  Or while working? Recent research has indicated that distracted eatindistractedg can lead to increased calorie consumption. Several of these studies compared two groups of eaters – those who ate in front of the TV and those who didn’t. The basic findings were that those who ate while watching TV tended to consume more calories at that meal; and those who paid attention to their meal tended to consume fewer calories at a later meal.

There is a mind body connection when it comes to eating. Your awareness of the food you’re consuming is one of the cues your body uses to decide how soon to be hungry again. If you are oblivious to what you’re eating, it is not only easier to over-consume at that meal, you also tend to get hungry again sooner because you don’t recall having eaten.

imagesThe opposite of distracted eating is to be mindful or attentive to what you are eating. Unplug the computer, TV, etc. and eat at the table. Take time to set the table with silverware and plates, maybe even candles! Eat at a slower pace. In fact, you can try to eat a normal-sized meal taking at least 20 minutes, since that is the time it takes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is full.

To slow down:

  • Eat with your non-dominant hand.
  • Put your fork down between bites.
  • Take a sip of water between each bite.
  • Notice the color, smell, texture, temperature and taste of your food.
  • Take small bites and savor them.
  • Put away cell phones and other electronic devices.
  • Have pleasant conversations with family, friends or co-workers during your meal.

The benefits of attentive eating are not only consuming fewer calories, but also increasing the likelihood that you’ll eat healthier food and enjoy it more!

Writer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County.

Reviewers:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County and Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County

Sources:

Harvard Medical School, Harvard Health Publications, LeWine. “Distracted Eating May Add to Weight Gain.” Retrieved 9-16-2013 from: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/distracted-eating-may-add-to-weight-gain-201303296037

Daily Mail, Health Home, Innes. “Why eating in front of the TV makes you fat: You consume 25% more LATER in the day without realizing.” Retrieved 9-15-2013 from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2295303/Why-eating-TV-makes-fat-You-consume-25-LATER-day-realising.html#ixzz2ehZG1Mu8

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I’m sure you have noticed how large the meals are that we are served when we eat out. Often the amounts we serve ourselves or our families at home are just as oversized as the restaurant portions. How can we control the calories we are eating each day to help us maintain a healthy weight?

One simple helpful tool is to recognize the difference between a “serving” and a “portion”.

A “portion” is the amount of food or beverage a person chooses to eat or drink. A “serving” is a standard amount established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. People commonly portion out more than one serving to eat or drink at a time.

For example, a serving of soda is 8 fluid ounces. Sixteen fluid-ounce bottles of soda are common, and many people choose to drink 16 fluid ounces in one sitting. Even though a 16-fluid ounce bottle is commonly viewed as one “portion,” it is actually two servings! Many cups at fast food restaurants are 32 ounces or even 44 ounces. Think how many servings you are having if you refill the cup before you leave?deck of cards

A serving of meat or fish is 3 ounces – about the size of a deck of cards. But the portion that you have on your plate may be 6 – 9 ounces or more!  Now, think of the calories that you are consuming if you eat the “portion” instead of a “serving.”

One 3-4 ounce hamburger has about 330 calories; a 6 – 8 ounce hamburger comes in at about 600 calories!

We know that just 100 extra calories per day could lead to a 10 pound weight gain in one year. It would take about 1 hour and 30 minutes of exercise to burn off the extra calories from the double burger!

Research has shown that if people are given food in larger serving size packages, they are likely to eat the entire package. For example, a 10.5 ounce bag of potato chips contains about 11 one ounce servings (about 13 chips). Each 1 ounce serving gives you 140 calories, 8 grams of fat and 180 mg of sodium. If you multiply those by 11, you are eating 1,540 calories, 88 grams of fat and 1,980 mg of sodium!

It might be helpful it you divided a larger package into individual serving sizes. When you first open the bag, divide the chips into 11 separate baggies and you will be less likely to mindlessly eat the whole bag while watching TV!

To help you visualize how big (or small!) a serving actually is here are some helpful hints using everyday items to determine the size of a serving.

  • A 3 oz. serving of meat, fish and poultry = a deck of cards or the size of a computer mouse
  • 2 Tbsp. of peanut butter =      a ping pong ball
  • 1 ½ oz. cheese = 4 stacked dice
  • ½ cup of ice cream = ½ of  a baseball
  • 1 baked potato = a fist
  • ½ cup of cooked rice, pasta or potato = ½ of a baseball

As you can see, a serving is much smaller than the portions we typically put on our plate!  You can download a portion card at: http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/portion/servingcard7.pdf

Choosemyplate.gov has the following suggestions to help you:

Measure out foods you regularly eat (such as a bowl of cereal) once or twice, to get a sense of how big your typical portion is. Also measure out what 1/2 or 1 cup portion size looks like to help you estimate how much you eat. Don’t forget to check the serving size information on the Nutrition Facts label of packaged foods. It describes what the “standard” serving size is, and how many are in the package.

How much we eat each day is just as important as what we are eating.  Be sure to eat nutrient rich foods to supply the calories as part of your daily health plan.  Don’t forget to include some physical activity that you enjoy each day to balance the calories in the foods you are eating.

Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu.

Reviewed by:  Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County, Ohio Valley EERA, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Resources:

North Carolina School Nutrition Action Committee, http://www.eatsmartmovemorenc.com/TrendsEffectsSolutions/Texts/RightSizeYourPortions.pdf

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/portion/servingcard7.pdf

USDA, Choose My Plate, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/weight-management-calories/weight-management/current-consumption.html

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yogurtWe’ve all heard the adage “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper” to keep our weight in balance. But is there any truth to the advice? A recent study conducted by Frank Scheer, an associate neuroscientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Tufts University in Boston joined researchers at the University of Murcia in Spain to study 420 overweight and obese men and women who participated in a 20-week weight-loss program. The average age of the volunteers was 42.

Since the mid-day meal is typically one of the largest meals of the day in the Mediterranean culture, the study participants consumed about 40% of their daily calories for lunch (approximately 550-700 calories). The group was then divided into “early” eaters – those who ate lunch before 3:00 p.m. – and “late” eaters -those who ate lunch after 3:00 p.m. There was no difference between the amount of calories that each group consumed; the overall average was about 1400 calories per day. Energy expenditure was also similar between the two groups. Results reported in the January 29 2013 edition of The International Journal of Obesity suggest there may be some truth to the age-old advice of eating more earlier in the day to control your weight. On average the group who ate an early lunch lost 22 pounds while the group who ate later in the day lost 17. The “later” group also tended to skip breakfast and had a lower sensitivity to insulin, which may lead to diabetes.

While the study has its limitations, these findings do provide evidence to support the following dietary guidance:

• Eat breakfast! It really is the most important meal of the day. If you don’t have an appetite in the morning and find it difficult to eat, try experimenting with small amounts of various types of healthy foods.

• Try high protein foods for breakfast, such as eggs, lean meats, or Greek yogurt. You’ll find these foods will not leave you feeling hungry mid-morning, like a doughnut or pastry would. Compliment your meal with a bowl of fresh fruit and a glass of skim milk or 100% juice.

• If you enjoy a hearty meal, try eating a larger lunch earlier in the day. Lighten up dinner with a salad or vegetable, cup of soup and a small sandwich. While a calorie is a calorie no matter what time of day you eat, eating a more substantial lunch earlier in the day than a larger dinner later at night seems to be easier on your circadian rhythm and natural “body clock”. It also allows you time to expend excess calories before you go to bed. Should you get hungry at night, try eating a small snack.

Written by: Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, EFNEP/FCS, Hamilton County.
Reviewed by: Carolyn Gunther, Assistant Professor, Human Nutrition; Liz Smith, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed.
Source: http://m.npr.org/news/U.S./170591028, http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/29/meal-times-may-affect-weight-loss-success/,

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