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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
Cilantro Lime Chicken

Mindful Eating

Posted by Jenna Smith -

I'm pleased to introduce a guest blogger today! Ashley Wheeler is a dietetic intern at University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

An average person makes over 200 food-related decisions per day. Some decisions are conscientious. What am I going to make for dinner? Should I have a side of fruit as a side dish or do I want chips? Other decisions are so subtle we don't even realize that we are making them. Factors such as the size of your plate, shape of your glass, or placement of food in a room actually affect how much food or drink you will consume. There are simple things you can do to reduce the amount you eat and prevent mindless eating.

Trade in your regular dinner plates for salad plates. People eat less food and feel more full when they eat off of a smaller plate. Tall, skinny glasses make it look like there is more in your glass, so use them for drinks with calories such as juice or milk. It is easy to over-consume liquid out of a short, wide glass, so only drink water or sugar-free beverages out of these. Fill half of your plate with veggies. This will not only create the illusion that you are eating more, but it will also lower the amount higher calorie foods you consume. Replace your candy dish with a fruit bowl. Keep foods that are good for you in plain sight and less healthy foods out of sight. If you do have a candy dish in the living room, make it a solid colored one that has a lid. The less you are tempted, the less you have to resist the urge to give in and mindlessly eat.

  • In a study of nutrition students, participants who were given large dishes served themselves on average about 31% more ice cream than those who were given a small dish. That is 127 more calories worth of ice cream just from using a bigger dish!
  • When researchers examined how much Chex Mix® Super Bowl party-goers consumed, they found that those who served themselves from a gallon bowl ate 59% more than those who served themselves from a half gallon bowl.
  • In a study of musicians, participants who drank out of a short, wide glass at dinner poured an average of 19% more juice or soft drinks into their glasses than participants who dined with a tall, skinny glass.

Use these small, achievable changes to shave off calories from your diet and the weight will follow! Try this twist on chicken, and for more great recipes check out University of Illinois Extension's website: Recipes for Diabetes.

Cinnamon Lime Chicken (Printable PDF)

4 raw, boneless, skinless chicken breasts

½ Tablespoon cinnamon

1 Tablespoon olive oil

½ medium white onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Juice from 3 limes

Preheat oven to 400° F. Place chicken breasts on baking sheet. Rub cinnamon into chicken breasts. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and let cool. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in medium saucepan. Sauté onion and garlic until slightly browned. Add lime juice. Cut cooled chicken into thin strips. Place chicken in pan with onion, garlic and lime juice. Simmer for 5 minutes. Serve by itself or in corn tortillas.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutritional analysis per serving: 180 calories, 6 grams fat, 50 milligrams sodium, 4 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 26 grams protein

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