Your environment: Evidence has shown that we don’t use willpower to help guide our eating. Rather we react to many different triggers in our environment. Think about the environment in which you are eating and how much attention you are paying to your food. Paying attention to what you’re eating – conscious eating – will fill you up much more than eating while doing something else like watching tv or working at your computer.
Portion size: Portion size is important when eating low-fat. An average portion-size of a meal containing 3g of fat can soon be 6g of fat if you have a double-sized portion (easily done!). Using a smaller plate can trick you into thinking you have eaten more. Be subtle though, too small a plate and you’ll end up eating two plates full and more than you otherwise would.
Filling yourself up with ‘good’ foods: It’s useful to fill up on very low fat proteins such as cod and/or bulking up your meals with vegetables. Green vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach (which does contain some fat) can be filling. Try to leave healthy foods around for you to snack on. It’s best to avoid many pre-packaged snacks that are labelled as low-fat as they are often packed with sugar. Think about the environment in which you are eating and how much attention you are paying to your food.
If you do like to snack try sucking on frozen grapes or other fruits of your choice. Experiment with blending frozen fruit which has been removed from the freezer 20 minutes earlier. Adding frozen banana gives a more ice-cream consistency. Blending frozen fruit with fat-free fromage frais is another way to make a quick snack or desert. If you have other snacking tips please email them to us here.
There are machines available which enable you to make your own oil free popcorn.
Using colour: Have a thought to making your meal colourful and attractive to the eye. Add something red to your green (pepper or tomatoes for instance). Experiment with using a different colour plate to show off your food. White food on a white plate will look very unattractive, but a plate with colour will help you to respond differently to your food.
Avoid simple sugars: Try to avoid drinking lots of fruit juice or soft drinks which contain lots of sugar. This is especially important for those who also have diabetes. Try to avoid eating low fat but sugary snacks. Even the lowest-fat sugary snack will probably contain some fat and will be nutritionally ‘empty’ calories.
Portion control is important here. One low-fat snack might be ok, but the fat content of two or three of the snack can soon be a significant number. Eating sugary things can lead to an increase of risk of developing diabetes as digesting the extra sugar puts stress on your pancreas.
Avoid getting hungry: Try to eat between 3-5 small meals each day. Missing a meal can feel fine but can lead to cravings and difficulty in controlling any temptations later in the day. Eating small meals more regularly, even if you’re not particularly hungry, can help you avoid temptation and improves your metabolism.
Think ahead: Think about making more of a low-fat meal than you need and have the leftovers in the fridge as a quick and easy snack/second meal.
Minimise the ‘pointless’ fat: Try to remove any visible fat from your food. Even if you perceive the amount to be very small it will give very little added taste or benefit to your dish, but will add to the total amount of fat you have eaten that day.
Caterer: Hire someone to prepare food for you. You may want to hire someone who is a very good cook just for a short while to give you tips and ideas about how to prepare your own food in a new way. People who enjoy cooking often enjoy the challenge of providing delicious food in new ways.
Please email us with any other tips here.