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Eat a Meal, Not a Snack

Posted Apr 27 2012 11:10am

Skipping out on snacks could lead to more efficient weight loss…

20120427-110641.jpgWeight loss occurs when the calories we expend are fewer than the calories we consume, how one chooses to achieve this deficit is entirely up to them, however, research shows that the perception of “snacking” can lead to overconsumption and potentially postpone weight loss success.

The idea of a “snack” is one that suggests an item is low in calories and to be consumed in small quantities. This can be dangerous when it comes to meeting calorie goals because we often don’t view snacks as very calorie dense, often allowing ourselves to consume more than the recommended serving size through mindless grazing, munching and sampling. Studies have found that those who consider a food to be a “snack” willingly eat more of the item than if they had considered the said item to be a “meal”.

The way we categorize food can be a key factor in meeting weight loss goals. Snacks are often consumed while being preoccupied by other activities like watching TV or answering emails. When we sit down to a meal at a table, the focus becomes concentrated on what is being consumed, resulting in a more mindful approach to eating. Moving the focus away from online shopping and onto our energy consumption will subsequently lead to a better perception of fullness, and allow us to put down the bag of chips before our diets get hurt.

The Takeaway: Our perception of snack foods is a dangerous and may lead to mindless overeating. Treat snacks like meals to allow for better overall awareness!

Further Resources:

The Center For Mindful Eating site dedicated to the principles of mindful eating

The New York Times- Mindful Eating as Food for Thought

http :// article about experimenting with mindful eating

The Daily Mail- Eating Three Square Meals a Day is a Better Way To Diet Than Grazing article about the benefits of eating meals rather than snacks

The Dallas News- 6 Simple Ways To Avoid Unhealthy Snacks and tricks on how to snack smarter

Works Cited

1. Devina Wadhera, Elizabeth D. Capaldi, Categorization of foods as “snack” and “meal” by college students, Appetite, Volume 58, Issue 3, June 2012, Pages 882-888, ISSN 0195-6663, 10.1016/j.appet.2012.02.006. (

2. Elizabeth D. Capaldi, Jacqueline Quinn Owens, Gregory J. Privitera, Isocaloric meal and snack foods differentially affect eating behavior, Appetite, Volume 46, Issue 2, March 2006, Pages 117-123, ISSN 0195-6663, 10.1016/j.appet.2005.10.008. ( )

3. Singh, N. N., Lancioni, G. E., Singh, A. N., Winton, A. S. W., Singh, J., McAleavey, K. M., & Adkins, A. D. (2008). A mindfulness-based health wellness program for an adolescent with prader-willi syndrome.Behavior Modification, 32(2), 167-181. doi:10.1177/0145445507308582

4. Jennifer Mathieu, What Should You Know about Mindful and Intuitive Eating?, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 109, Issue 12, December 2009, Pages 1982,1985,1987, ISSN 0002-8223, 10.1016/j.jada.2009.10.023. ( )

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