Tips on Preventing Overeating at Meals

by Grace Rivers, RDN, CDCES

You sat down to eat, and 10 minutes later, you noticed that you had finished everything on your plate. Eating too quickly can lead to overeating resulting in unwanted high blood sugar. Over time you likely may also gain weight.

Tips to help prevent overeating

Put your phone away. If you are repeatedly glancing at your phone, you cannot concentrate on your meal, leading you to overeat.

Don’t skip meals. Going too long between meals puts you at risk for low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and there is also a strong chance that your blood sugar will peak too high (hyperglycemia) when you do eat. Aiming to get your body into a routine may be helpful.

Use smaller dishes and eating utensils. When using a large plate, you may overfill it to make it appear as though you have enough food. Also, larger spoons and forks may cause you to eat more because you have a more significant bite of food.

Slow the time between your bites. When food is going down too fast, it’s easy to overeat before realizing it. It takes time for your brain to register that you are full. When you are over-hungry, slowing down is super hard. Could you slow down and savor your meals?

Include fiber and protein in your meals. Meals that contain protein and fiber are more filling than eating low-carb veggies with leafy greens only. If you choose to eat salad, be sure to include either plant or animal protein. Beans are an excellent addition.

Drink low or non-calorie beverages with meals. Doing so will aid in hydration, deliver volume to your tummy, and contribute only a few calories. Water will not add any calories.

Keep smart snacks in the fridge and pantry. Having these on hand gives you something to munch on when you realize you are hungry such as in the middle of the afternoon when dinner is several hours away.

Snacking may help you

In scientific studies, snacking has been shown to help some and not others. If you get ravenous from going too long between meals, snacking on high fiber, high protein snacks may help you. These are examples:

Smart snacks

These should be eaten in small amounts to take the edge of hunger away and help prevent overeating at your next meal. Aim for tasty and filling.

  • One cup of berries with ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 8 ounces milk with ½ peanut butter sandwich made with whole-wheat bread
  • One slice of cheese with a corn tortilla
  • One-ounce nuts such as 23 almonds or 28 peanuts

When to eat a snack?

When you eat a snack depends on when you notice that you are getting hungry between your meals.  If there will be more than an hour before you eat, have a smart snack. Notice if that helps to curb your hunger and if you eat less at your next meal.

These are tips that may help you decrease your intake at meals. Choosing one to work on can put you on the road to eating less. Keeping smart snacks (foods) on hand is a good idea to help with overall health.

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