The very word grazing, with its associations to large livestock, should be a red flag that the habit it describes—nibbling and noshing a bit of food here and there—isn't a great idea.
That handful of nuts, extra scoop of pasta, and random cookie may go into your mouth unnoticed but wind up settling firmly on your thighs a few days later.
The Trouble with Grazing
Mothers are particularly prone to eating a bit of this and that because that's how young children tend to eat. Their stomachs are small and their metabolisms are extraordinarily active because they're growing so quickly. So we feed them breakfast, then give them a snack a few hours later. That's followed by lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner, and maybe dessert. Add in a baggie full of goldfish crackers at the park or a banana to keep them busy while you make a phone call, and you've got a typical kiddie menu.
Unfortunately for moms, we're not children. We're not growing. We don't run from place to place burning calories like a little furnace. We should not be grazing like children. Yet we find ourselves picking a few goldfish out of that baggie while chatting up the other moms, right? Or we nibble on those leftover sandwich crusts children always leave on their plates. If we're cutting up an apple, we realize a child won't eat the whole thing, so who helps them out? Mommy. And she's paying for it in extra pounds.
Another reason moms tend to graze is because we're exceptionally busy. It's much easier to grab a package of peanut butter crackers and a diet cola to inhale in the car than it is to prepare a sensible lunch and eat it at the table. Too bad the ease of eating on the run is offset by the difficulty of losing weight that comes from that kind of gobble-and-go behavior.
How to Break the Grazing Habit
Today is the day you can turn over a new leaf and say goodbye to grazing. This will be pretty easy if you're planning your meals ahead of time by having the right ingredients in the house and the menu written down. If you haven't gotten that organized yet, you can still curb the nibbling by following these simple guidelines:
- Sit down at the table to eat.
- Eat off a plate, with a fork and a napkin.
- Do not snack out of a bag or box.
- Do not eat while standing at the kitchen counter.
- No eating in the car.
- No eating on the couch.
- Do not eat in front of the television.
- Do not eat your kids' leftovers.
- Do not have seconds even if it's just a small scoop.
- Do not eat after dinner, unless it's a preplanned snack that you've logged in your food journal.
If you can only remember one thing, keep in mind that you're an adult, so it's time to eat like one. You're a person of substance and sophistication who deserves better than food eaten from a box, bag, or someone else's tray. Take control of your meals and treat yourself with the respect you deserve!