Our portions are too big. In restaurants and at home we have become accustomed to piling our plates high with food and expecting ourselves to finish all of it. So much so that it has become a rare skill to be able to listen to your body telling you it is full. I use this one simple trick to help keep myself aware of how I’m feeling while enjoying the food in front of me.
“Do you save the best for last?”
is a question I can remember being asked a lot as a kid. For the most part, kids are pretty good at knowing when to stop eating because their bodies tell them they are full. Also as a kid, saving the best for last was a pretty foreign concept to me. If there was a piece of chocolate cake in front of me, you better believe I was going to eat all of the icing first and who cared if the cake itself actually got eaten. As I grew up, I began to subscribe more and more to the “best for last” column, eating all the food around my plate waiting to make that perfect last bite. What I didn’t realize was that by saving the best for last I was kind of forcing myself to eat the entire portion handed to me regardless of whether I was full or not.
I am not advocating for starving ourselves. Nor am I saying that it’s an inherently good thing to not finish a plate of food…but when the portions we are used to are so much bigger than what our stomachs can hold, we don’t listen to our bodies when they tell us they are full anymore. We ignore them because we want that perfect last bite.
Many health experts suggest eating off of smaller plates or taking smaller portions. These are all good points but often these suggestions really make us feel as though we are being deprived. Especially in restaurants where we are not in control of the portions, these tips can be tricky to manage. I can promise you I will never be someone who orders a meal and automatically asks for half of it to be packed up before its served (an actual health tip I read the other day.) Instead, once the meal arrives, I suggest that you eat the best bite first. If you have a piece of pie in front of you and you really just want the buttery crust, you go ahead and eat that buttery crust! And by the time it gets to the fruit filling (or vice versa) you will probably be satisfied and wont feel the need to finish the whole thing. THEN you can pack the rest up and take it home (hey, we don’t want to waste it completely, right?)
This kind of thinking also brings us back to the base of why we eat what we eat – because we like the way it tastes. We want to enjoy ourselves while we’re eating and eating the parts we like first not only prevent overeating but also means we enjoy the meal more!
So next time you eat out at a restaurant or even at home, go on and save the worst for last…or later when you’re hungry again.