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Tania is currently the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker and an Associate Editor at Womanista. With past writing credits as a freelance writer and journalist with Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF), and NBC News' Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists—one of the oldest organizations in the US that promotes and represents journalists. As a writer by vocation and entrepreneur by nature, Tania is a life long learner who enjoys traveling and meeting new people. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley, and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and road-tripping across the great United States. She is currently attending Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and studying journalism. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

6 Surprising Scientific Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating

{Image Credit: iStock}

We can bet you had the summer of your life, especially when it came to indulging in some of the best food the season has to offer! From outdoor barbecues with friends to carnival fare, the season saw a bounty of deliciousness. But the season also means our eating habits tend to suffer as we find ourselves relaxing beyond our diets and eating everything in sight thanks to the longer days. Sure, exercise can help but it’s hard to outrun your fork if you can’t find time between all that summer fun.

While we understand your love for funnel cake at the theme park, your jeans and tees don’t. No matter where you are this summer, it’s important to make small changes to our daily habits in order to stay healthy and fit all season long. And best of all, science is here to help.

Plate colors

Might sound odd, but plate colors play a big part in how we eat. While it’s known we eat with our eyes, a study from the National Institute of Health suggests plate size and color influences our eating habits. In layman’s terms, try to avoid eating off plates that match your food, like lasagna on a red plate because there’s less of a contrast. When there’s less, you end up eating more as a part of conceptualizing the actual size of your meal.

Eat breakfast

For years we’ve heard skipping breakfast is okay to do, but it’s a myth. Though many believe that skipping that morning meal can save your appetite for dinner, it can actually lead to binge eating during the day. Researchers at the University of Munich found reasonably sized breakfasts to be associated with a lower total daily intake, which means starting your day off with something healthy not only provides energy, but also balances energy consumption.

Prioritize the pantry

When we shop for groceries on an empty stomach, it can cause plenty of remorse for purchases we wonder twice about. But it’s important to toss out what you don’t want — or will realistically ever eat again. Look at your pantry or cupboards and prioritize what is necessary. Start with basics and keep them up front, as opposed to having that sweet smelling cake mix in eye’s view screaming to be baked. A report from the International Journal of Obesity discovered just seeing or smelling foods can rouse unnecessary cravings and greatly increase a hunger for “non-cued” foods.

Chew slowly

We live in a world of quick processes with everything readily available at our fingertips. So naturally, when it comes to fitting in our eating habits with the hustle and bustle of a busy workday, we try to hurry up as much as possible. However, the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics reports eating significantly slower leads to a reduced hunger and an increased feeling of fullness. Meaning, treat your food like an Instagram post — take your time to savor the beautiful flavors.

Turn off the TV

We understand you need to catch up with babe Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, but when you watch TV and eat at the same time, you do your body a great disservice. The University of Toronto reports eating in front of the TV increases how much you eat, while delaying the normal mealtime satiation. Not only do you disregard the food on your plate, but you also end up subconsciously increasing that desire for junk and sugary foods thanks to commercials.

Drink water

Cocktails and juices are fun but when you’re eating, sip on nature’s favorite beverage instead — water. While many believe it to be myth, H2O aids in a healthy weight as it tricks your brain into thinking it’s getting full. The University of Illinois discovered those who increase their consumption of water reduced their total daily caloric intake, in addition to saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.

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