Food/Nutrition Columnist
Thin Eating Habits - What to Eat
Jan 27, 2014 - 12:04:00 AM

( - Everyone has foods they love and most believe that when they diet, they have to give up these favorites. Not true! What you do need to do is practice some thin eating habits that will help you make the best food choices more often. If you love ice cream, it isn't off limits. Simply chose a single scoop cone and eat it a few times a week rather than a triple scoop every day on the way home from work. There are many thin eating habits you can practice that will help you decide what to eat.

Start with soup

Soup can blunt your appetite. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University showed that women who began lunch with soup ate fewer calories at that meal. Soup is warm and fragrant. It takes time to eat and you feel you have been offered a substantial portion of food. All this adds up to satisfaction. Choose clear broths, noodle, vegetable or bean soups rather than bisques, creamed or cheese-topped options to keep satisfaction high and calories low.

Eat more fruits and vegetables, drink less juice

A study at Tufts University showed that people who ate a wide variety of fruits and vegetables were leaner. Sounds obvious, but this was the first time that researchers actually showed an association between dietary variety and body fat. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables daily is a thin habit.

Though juices are healthy choices, they are more calorie dense and they don't offer the chewing satisfaction of the whole fruit or vegetable. While you are trying to lose weight it is wiser to chew than drink your fruit and vegetables.

Curb calories in a glass

According to researchers at Purdue University, liquid calories don't register the same feeling of fullness as solid food. Drinking one can of soda, which typically has about 120 calories, adds up to 12 extra pounds in a year. Coffee laced with cream, fruit smoothies, milkshakes, beer, mixed drinks, sweetened ice tea, and even good-for-you fruit juice can add more calories than you realize. While you are trying to lose weight stick with water, mineral water, seltzer, diet soda, and unsweetened tea.

Fill up on fiber

Foods high in fiber -- fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals and bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, beans -- offer less calories coupled with the satisfaction of chewing. Regularly eating high fiber foods is a thin eating habit.

Buy single-servings

Single-servings can be slightly more expensive, but in the long run you'll save both calories and money. How many times did you open a large bag of chips to have just a few and before you knew it the bag was empty? With a 1-ounce bag of chips, you enjoy a favorite without sabotaging your weight loss goals. Single-serving pudding, ice cream, snack-sized yogurt and pretzels, candy bars, and mini bags of peanuts help you keep over indulging under control.

Small sizes = a smaller you

There are no exceptions -- order small sodas, movie theater popcorn, ice cream cones, fries -- even enjoy small to medium sized fresh fruits. Whenever you are tempted to order grande, super or jumbo, say to yourself -- Do I want to be grande (super or jumbo)?

On the side, measure don't pour

Butter, sour cream, sauce, gravy, mayonnaise, salad dressing, syrup, cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, and ketchup can add calories quickly. Spoon out a small serving and put the container away. Try dipping your empty fork into the add-on before you take a forkful of food, rather than dunking the food in the dressing or sauce. Fork-first adds tastes but far fewer calories.

Chewing is satisfying

Foods that require a lot of chewing slows down eating and gives your brain time to recognize you have eaten and are satisfied. Try shredded wheat, raw fruits and vegetables, vegetable-packed soups, fresh cherries, grapes, watermelon, pomegranates, steamed artichokes, unbuttered popcorn, nuts in the shell, pretzels and unpeeled shrimp.

Go easy on calorie dense food

Foods high in fat and sugar pack in more calories bite for bite. Fats like butter, mayonnaise, salad dressing and sour cream can add on calories quickly but low fat, high-sugar foods are also high in calories. Meals loaded with fruits, vegetables, salads, and high-fiber breads and cereals help keep pounds off. Meals full of fried foods, cheese, candy, cake, cookies, and ice cream don't.

Enjoy foods naked

Undress your food and cut calories. Baked potato without sour cream, vegetables without cheese sauce, bread without butter, meat without gravy, hamburger without cheese, salad without dressing, ice cream without hot fudge, cake without icing -- over a lifetime of healthy eating, these simple dress-downs can help you lose or maintain your weight.

© NRH Nutrition Consultants, Inc.

Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and the author of the nutrition counter series for Pocket Books with sales of more than 8.5 million books.

Look for:

The Diabetes Counter, 5th Ed., 2014

The Fat and Cholesterol Counter, 2014

The Most Complete Food Counter, 3rd ed., 2013

The Calorie Counter, 6th Ed., 2013

The Complete Food Counter, 4th ed., 2012

The Protein Counter, 3rd Ed., 2011

The Ultimate Carbohydrate Counter, 3rd Ed., 2010

The Healthy Wholefoods Counter, 2008

Your Complete Food Counter App:

For more information on Jo-Ann and her books, go to:


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