“Pooh always liked a little something at 11 o’clock in the morning, and when Rabbit said, ‘Honey or condensed milk with your bread?’ he was so excited that he said, ‘Both,’ and then, so as not to seem greedy, he added, ‘But don’t bother about the bread, please.’”

—A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

We have all had decades at our hands to understand exactly what foods we like to eat. So, keeping Pooh’s point in mind, it should be easy to choose to eat less of what we don’t like.

Cut Out on Foods You Don’t Enjoy

For instance, Leslie enjoys a pasta dinner, but the sauce is the best part. Taking a smaller portion of noodles and using a little more sauce reduces the calories she consumes by one-third or more.

Pat likes the texture and flavor of bread and mayonnaise in a sandwich, but what’s in the middle is less important. A low-calorie option is to substitute a stack of lettuce and a slice of tomato for the calorie-rich meats or cheeses.

Making your sandwich topless – even PB&J – is a good tactic if you don’t care about the bread. Cutting out a slice of bread will save you some calories.

Identifying what you really want is an opportunity to introduce mindful awareness into your meal planning process. It’s a strategy that pays off twice: you get more satisfaction while you take less in.

Tasty Food Is More Satisfying

The better your food tastes, the more fulfilling the experience of eating will be. Just a few bites of something really delicious can be more enjoyable than a plateful of less flavorful food. Top quality foods can be expensive, but they are worth it if you can eat smaller portions of them and be equally satisfied.

You also get more enjoyment from food that looks beautiful. That’s why arrangement on the plate is such a big deal in fancy restaurants.

It will help you take less in if you opt for quality foods and take a few extra moments to prepare and set them out in an attractive way.

With mindful awareness, focus on the taste and texture of each bite. Eating more slowly helps you savor the flavor, which makes it easier to eat smaller portions.

Helpful Hints to Enjoy Your Meals

If you need more practical tips, here are three that can improve your eating habits:

Take Smaller Bites

You get to enjoy the flavor longer when you take two or three small bites rather than one big mouthful.

Take It Slow

Remember to put your utensils down after each bite. Slowing the momentum of eating gives you the time to relax and fully appreciate the flavors.

Stop Sooner

When you savor the flavor, just a few bites of a treat can satisfy you. Save what’s left to enjoy another time.

How to Do It Every Day

See how many bites you can get from a 100-calorie portion of one of your favorites – two, three, four, or even more. This is a great way to maximize enjoyment of a special treat with minimum damage and minimum guilt.

Think of five of your favorite dishes and decide what you really want from each. Be creative in coming up with lower calorie versions. Use more of the ingredients you like best and eliminate or reduce the rest.

If you find success with these new and improved recipes, go ahead and create satisfying low-calorie versions of all your regular dishes at home. When eating out, it can’t hurt to ask for substitutions that get you more of what you really want.

How often do you eat just to be full? Do you enjoy your food? What can you do to make your meals tastier and to add enjoyment to this everyday task? Please share your thoughts with our community.

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