It can be hard not to overeat in December. You eat a healthy meal at home, think you’re doing well, then you see food at the party buffet. You get hungry, and pretty soon you’re at at the fridge or out to eat and your new found habit is forgotten. Or maybe you stick to the “right” foods, but they’re just so good that you can’t have just one portion.
The following six strategies that could change the game so that you can be healthier, enjoy meals more, and you feel your appetite is low enough that, if anything, I have to make an effort to eat more!
Add Vinegar and Cinnamon to Meals to Control Blood Sugar
Looking to add some flavor to your food and noncaloric drinks?
Forget the sugar; there are plenty of flavors and spices that will make your food both tastier and healthier.
Vinegar can lower the glycemic index (meaning you metabolize the food more slowly). It adds acidic flavor to salad dressings, sauces and roasted veggies without a lot of calories.
For sweet-smelling warmth, add cinnamon to everything from coffee and smoothies to chili.
Cinnamon, like vinegar, slows the rate at which food transits from your stomach to your intestine—this keeps you full longer, and helps prevent the post-meal slump.
Eat When You’re not Hungry
Instead of trying to resist hunger, beat it to the punch.
If you eat when you’re either not hungry or only slightly hungry, you’ll eat less and tend to eat more slowly. When you get really hungry, you overeat.
Eating less throughout the day is great, but having more energy is certainly a nice bonus, too!
Drink Water, not Liquid Calories
In addition to tiredness and brain fog, mild dehydration can cause a sensation that’s easily mistaken for hunger.
Liquids such as juices and sodas don’t fill you up, and their rapid digestion causes insulin spikes. So pass on the sweetened drinks, and stick with sparkling or still water—you can flavor it with lemon, strawberries or cucumber if you want, but don’t pack your drinks full of calories.
Aim to drink at least three-quarters of a gallon of water a day.
Also, be sure to drink a glass about 20 minutes before each meal to take the edge of your appetite.
When you swallow food, there’s a sizable delay (10-30 minutes) before you feel any satisfaction from it.
This delay can lead to eating more food than we really need.
The faster we eat, the more we tend to consume, particularly later on in a meal.
The solution? Chew each bite 10 times.
Following this simple rule will cause you to eat more slowly, allowing your mind to catch up to your stomach. You’ll also enjoy your food more when you take the time to savor it.
Have a Small, Flavorless Snack Between Meals
Have you noticed that if you tend to eat the same thing your appetite tends to not be so out of control?
For this to work, the snack must be bland, and you should consume nothing else but water for at least an hour before and after the snack. Try a handful of unsalted almonds. Doing this once a day dramatically reduces the appetite—this can be particularly true if you have a lot of weight to lose.
This works by regulating ghuelin, a hunger hormone, by weakening flavor-calorie associations.
Try the Front Door Snack Technique
A great trick for overshadowing your willpower by reducing hunger is to fill up on healthy food before leaving home.
Keep a healthy snack, such as jerky, almonds or kale chips, right next to your front door, and eat some before you leave home.
This will cause healthy food to “crowd out” unhealthy food in your diet, and make it much easier to pass on the junk food.
Choosing a simple carb will normally cause blood sugars to spike quickly but crashes easily. Choosing a protein may not kick in so quickly but will create a longer energy boost.