23 September 2008
I long ago realised that I was powerless in the face of potato chips. This was a bit of an epiphany for me. But, once I admitted it to myself I realised drastic action was required - our home needed to be a potato-chip free zone!
Rather than risk eating an entire giant bag of potato chips every week I thought perhaps my husband would agree to banning potato chips from our home. My husband is quite capable of eating a few chips here and there as a treat without the desire to shove the whole bag down his mouth, unlike me. I wish I had the same self-control, unfortunately when it comes to potato chips I'm not so good.
Hiding Potato Chips from Myself
Anyway, what we decided was that potato chips were a banned item on the most part. And when I do relent and allow my dearest to bring potato chips into the house (well I can't really stop him with the fully laden supermarket bags at the front door and conduct an audit) I ensure the potato chips are stored in the very top-most cupboard in our kitchen. And trust me it takes some work to get them out of that cupboard, as we live in an old bungalow with high ceilings - so you need the good sized step-ladder that's inconveniently stored in the garage to get to them.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
This helps me to avoid succumbing to potato chip mania. I can't see the potato chips, which means I think about potato chips less and that means I eat less! There's lots of research to back this up; that is, that storing treat foods out of sight helps to reduce our intake. Dr Brian Wansink is a US researcher who has done loads of great research on this specific topic and the psychology of eating in general.
The other thing Wansink's research confirms, is that my downright inconvenient top-most cupboard and step-ladder solution is another great way to prevent ourselves from succumbing to treats. The reality is we're generally only keen for the chippies if they're easy to get. If we have to put a bit more effort in (in my case going to the garage to get the step-ladder) we'll often change our mind and realise we're not that hungry or there is some other piece of food that's easier to access that we'll eat instead. And this is where food positioning comes into its own!
Good Foods in Good Places
I keep healthier savoury snacks in the pantry that are much easier to access. Pretzels, rice crackers and the occasional small handful of nuts. Pretzels are baked rather than fried and contain 1533kJ per 100g, as compared to the 2100kJ or more per 100g that you find in potato chips. Plus my pretzels have only 1.7g/100g of saturated fat way less than the 16.3g/100g of saturated fat that is sneakily loaded up in those potato chips. The bonus for me is that I enjoy pretzels but I'm not in love with them. So I can easily stave off a potato chip attack with a small handful of pretzels and then carry on with life. I don't feel the need to eat the whole pretzel packet. And most of the time I'll make a deal with myself and serve some chopped fruit alongside the pretzels to shut that stomach of mine up.
||I find the psychology of eating one of the most intriguing things about nutrition. Why do we eat the things we eat? If you can understand how your environment influences what you eat, you can work to change your environment in order to improve your eating habits. Spring is a great time to clean out the pantry and get some order into your food-lifestyle. Read our tips on spring-cleaning your health and apply them to your life and that of your family.
And I highly recommend Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Dr Brian Wansink. This single book has taught me more about the psychology of why we eat the things we eat, than any other book or research report on earth!
Jennifer's blog is produced without sponsorship or pay-offs by any of those big potato chip companies. Time spent blogging is time not spent earning money to pay for those pretzels and nuts. If you'd like to help fund Jennifer's blogging please click here to make a contribution.
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