Food · Nutrition

Slim By Design

Changing things up a little bit on Tara Tested with a book review of Slim By Design by Brian Wansink, Ph.D.!

First, a little bit about the author. Wansink is a professor at Cornell University, and also the director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab. He is an expert in eating behavior and has also written Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. His research is all about food and how certain factors can affect our eating behavior – really interesting stuff.

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Slim By Design focuses on making changes to our everyday environments that can help us lose weight (or prevent further weight gain). The book covers 5 main food environments that we encounter all the time: our home, our favorite restaurants, our grocery store, our workplace, and our kid’s schools. Each chapter focuses on one of these places and what can be done to make them a little healthier or maybe just less unhealthy. This book emphasizes the idea that working with human nature, rather than against it, is the best way to reverse weight gain. Often times people believe that losing weight or becoming healthier requires dramatic and drastic changes to their lifestyle and diet (sometimes true), but this book provides simple solutions you can make to your everyday environment to make you slim by design.

Slim By Design: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! I’ll share a few of my favorite tid-bits from each section, but I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to eat and values their health (that should be just about everyone). 😉

  • Home – you’re 3 times more likely to eat the first food you see in your cabinet than the fifth one. Reorganize your pantry so the first foods you see are the ones that are better for you!
  • Restaurant – ask your waiter for a glass of water right away and forgo the basket of bread or tortilla chips (this is a tough one for me, but if it’s not in front of you, you probably won’t miss it). Diners at Italian restaurants dipped their bread into 19% more calories of fat when given olive oil vs. butter, but they got tired of the olive oil more quickly and ate less bread than those given butter.
  • Grocery store – starving shoppers buy the same amount of food as stuffed shoppers, but they buy food that is less healthy. Chewing gum can help interrupt the cravings for convenience foods we experience when grocery shopping while hungry.
  • Workplace – if you buy lunch at work, grabbing a piece of fruit first can trigger a reaction of healthier choices for the rest of your meal.
  • School lunchrooms – renaming menu items to sound more fun (i.e. Big Bad Bean Burritos) can increase sales, yet placing cookies in the back of the line or behind the counter did not decrease sales.

Mindless Eating is a great read too!

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