Many people were very intrigued by my interview with behavioral scientist Brian Wansink and his ideas. He studies eating behavior and consumer habits, and has a book that just came out: Slim By Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life. I asked him for some of his top tips, and he gave me these excellent suggestions to “Help your kitchen make you slim.”
1. Serve vegetables first.
2. Serve the main dish from the stove or counter, so that to get seconds, you have to stand up and go get more.
This combines the Strategy of Inconvenience, because you can’t just reach out to take more food, and the Strategy of Monitoring, because you can keep track better of how much you’re eating.
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3. Use dinner plates that are 9-10 wide.
We eat less when we use a smaller plate, but American plate sizes have been steadily growing.
4. Sit at a table, with the TV off.
People eat more, without noticing, if they’re watching TV. And if you have to sit at a table to eat, you’ve made it harder to have impulsive snacks.
6. Keep your kitchen counters organized, not messy.
I was interested to see this one — it confirms my argument about the Strategy of Foundation and the importance of “uncluttering.”
7. Keep snack foods in one inconvenient cupboard. (Again, the Strategy of Inconvenience.)
I remind myself of one of my Secrets of Adulthood for Habits: It’s easier to change my surroundings than myself. It’s easier to put cookies on a high shelf than to boost my willpower.
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A version of this post originally appeared on Gretchen Rubin’s website, where Gretchen writes about her experiments in the pursuit of happiness and good habits.