This healthy eating tip will work if you just try it. Discover how to leverage a tiny bit of willpower that will fool your tummy into eating less and thinking it’s full. Here’s a question for you…
When you’re buying food, should you get the small size or should you get the large economy size? Although you wouldn’t think so, it significantly affects how much you eat.
Case in point! Psychologists at Cornell University studied popcorn eating at the movies. As people came into the theater, they gave each person a free bucket of popcorn. They gave half the people a bucket of popcorn so big that it was impossible for them to finish it. They gave the other half an even BIGGER bucket of popcorn.
The popcorn was so stale it squeaked when you chewed it. It was so bad that one person complained that it was more like eating Styrofoam packing.
After the movie, they measured the amount of popcorn that was left and discovered that the people who had the larger size bucket ate 53 percent more than the group that had the smaller buckets. They repeated this little experiment in different cities and the results were always the same. The bigger the bucket, the more popcorn people ate.
Eating healthy is the prize…So you should buy the smaller size
So your big takeaway is to buy snack food in smaller packages. It’s great to buy the big size if you want to encourage yourself and others to eat something – get the big bag of carrots, or the large size of oatmeal – terrific. But for things you’d like to limit your consumption of, get the smaller size.
A lot of food manufacturers are making it easier for us by packaging snack products in convenient 100 calorie size portions.
It feels like you’re paying more for your food. But if you eat twice as much from the larger package – and you probably are – it costs more than if you had the smaller serving from the smaller package. What’s more, you’re consuming more calories which means in the long run, your health costs are going to far outweigh any minimal savings of a dollar here or there.
If you buy economy packs…Split them into healthy snacks
If you are so frugal that you can’t bear to pay more per unit that is absolutely necessary then go ahead, get the big size. But make sure that when you get home, you repackage food into smaller portions.
Get some baggies or small containers to store them in. But there are limits to this strategy. There’s no excuse for getting a bag so big that you shouldn’t eat it no matter how many portions you divide into. That goes for oversize bags of chips, or caramel corn, or gallon tubs of ice cream.
This sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Maybe you think by just knowing this bit of information you’ll be able compensate for this effect and eat smaller portions. Uh, uh. Doesn’t work that way.
Here’s the other shoe, something I didn’t tell you about the free popcorn at the movie experiment. At the end of the movie the researchers told the movie goers who got the big buckets that the average person will eat more popcorn if it is in a big bucket. The researchers asked if the movie goers thought they were influenced by the size of their bucket. Most of them said no. They said “Things like that don’t trick me.” Or “I’m pretty good at knowing when I’m full.”
And yet the cold hard data showed that they didn’t have a clue.
Even the experts on healthy food…Eat too much if they get cued
Even experiments done ON these researchers showed the same results – unconscious cues telling the research scientists how much to eat fooled THEM into eating more.
You may be wondering why people ate ANY stale popcorn. The answer is that they had an association that linked eating popcorn to the movies – I go to the movies, I eat popcorn. That association can overwhelm the fact that I’m not hungry and that the popcorn is lousy. And that’s why it’s so important for you to develop healthy associations with food rather than accepting the ones provided by the people selling you food.
Isn’t that a fascinating healthy eating tip? Just the size of the package determines how much you eat. There’s more surprising information available…