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Food Then and Now: Part 3

Posted on March 2, 2016 at 11:02 AM by Lia Bahls, RD

If you’re just joining this blog series, we’re focusing on the lifestyle changes that have affected how we eat today. As a dietitian, many people ask me: has our culture and corresponding lifestyles changed that much over the past 40 years? The answer. Yes, it has.


We’ve discussed two major lifestyle changes so far, which include:

  1. That we value inactivity
  2. We don’t eat at home anymore


Let’s take a look at a third major change in our lifestyle:


Mindless eating rules: Our culture has moved away from the dinner table and towards the television, smart phones, computers, and (sometimes) books. Eating while consuming media opens the door for what we call mindless and “boredom” eating. When distracted, we are less likely to pay attention to what and how much we are eating. You know that feeling when you’ve reached the bottom of the bag and had no clue you’d been eating chips for the past hour? That’s mindless eating and it is a huge problem in today’s society.


So how can you combat the mindless eating that leads to overeating? Step away from the electronics and distractions!


  1. Make it a rule that no electronics are allowed at the dinner table. Get a small basket and have everyone put their phone in it.
  2. Converse with those around you. Ask your family and friends to reflect on their day. This causes people to slow down when they eat.
  3. Portion out your food before you consume it. If you’re going to watch a movie with the family and want some popcorn, don’t bring the whole bag. Pour a small bowl and don’t go back for refills. Remember to fill up with water and keep hydrated, too!
  4. Stay away from the kitchen if you’re bored. Instead, head outside or find an activity to keep your hands active (and out of the chip bag)!


We’re almost there. One more part left of this food series. Make sure to follow so you don’t miss our last topic!

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