Eat Smart to Stay Fit, Avoid Extra Pounds

Snacking on doughnuts in the break room and prepackaged snacks stowed away in your desk are spur-of-the-moment options can hurt your health. But rushing through meals and eating mindlessly can also lead to extra pounds.

Distractions abound during mealtimes, from watching television to scrolling through social media feeds on your smartphone. One of the first steps you can take toward better eating is to focus on the food in front of you.

“When people really focus on their meal — the aroma, the texture, the taste — they feel more satisfied as they eat,” says Ashley Bixel, registered dietitian on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance. “When people aren’t tuned in to what they’re eating, they may eat more quickly, which can lead to overeating. Nutrition counseling can help people establish more mindful eating habits.”

To help regulate your hunger throughout the day:

  • Stick to set mealtimes. Skipping meals during the day can lead to overeating at night. Set times to eat throughout the day and prepare healthy options — such as fresh fruit, whole-grain granola bars or low-fat string cheese — so you aren’t tempted to reach for unhealthy treats. At mealtime, eat slowly, savoring your food.
  • Take a technology timeout. Turn off the television and banish technology to another room while you and your family reconnect face to face. Talk about how your day went while you enjoy dinner together. If you’re eating out, have a rule that whoever looks at his or her phone during the meal has to do extra chores during the week.

Nutrition counseling requires a referral from a physician. To find a physician the medical staff, call visit

Physicians on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.

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