food on your plateWelcome to our healthy lifestyle challenge lead by our program dietitian, Vicki Bovee, and her husband Bill. Because we can always do better to live a healthier lifestyle Vicki and Bill decided to work on a weekly challenge together to provide support and accountability for each other. Follow along with them as they tackle a variety of challenges to eat better, eat more mindfully, and improve physical health and emotional well-being. Vicki and Bill invite you to participate and accept the challenges to improve your lifestyle too. Some of them may be difficult and please feel free to modify the challenges to accommodate your dietary needs and physical abilities.

Challenge # 8 Don’t eat out of the package. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl.
Food choices determine what we eat but not how much we eat. How much we eat can be unknowingly decided by the size and color of the plate or bowl, the number of items served, and the accessibility of the food (think serving dishes on the table) to name a few. But what also influences us is the size of the package and if the packaging is clear or opaque.

It should come as no surprise to you that when we eat directly out of the package we eat more. If you’ve been to my preop Steps Class you may remember the pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The package states 4 servings (a serving is a standard amount of food) but eaten from the container it is typically 1 or 2 portions (a portion is what you decide to eat). How many times have you found yourself eating mindlessly in front of the TV and your hand hits the bottom of the box or your spoon scraps the bottom of the container and you wonder where all that food went?

I usually put my food on a plate or in a bowl because I am aware of the overeating trap from eating directly from the bag. Several weeks ago this really came to my attention. I opened a bag of KetogenX Crisps for a snack. I put them on a plate and my immediate reaction was that there looked to be a lot more crisps than I thought the bag contained. It also took me longer to eat them because I looked at each piece before I put it in my mouth. And that my friends is mindful eating.

Vicki’s observations:
• I eat prepackaged salads or microwave dinners for lunch on workdays. I can see those so I ate out of the package. But when I am at home I put those foods on a plate and I do know it looks like a lot more food on the plate than in the container.
• I had several snacks that came from a package and I put them on a plate which slowed me down.
• I feel like I am more “civilized” when I eat from a plate or a bowl.

Bill’s observations:
• I don’t eat a lot out of packages because I pretty much eat the same things.
• I do eat protein bars every day and I did take them out of the wrapper.
• I have a thing for ice cream and I do eat it out of a bowl except for the last portion. Usually I eat that from the container but this week I put it in a bowl. There was more left in there than I thought.

Your challenge this week, should you choose to accept it, is eat all food from a package that you cannot see through and put it on a plate or in a bowl. Look at the food you are eating.
Charge up your Smartphone, iPad, or tablet for next week’s challenge and prepare to become aware.
Eat Smarter…
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD

Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, "Health and Lifestyle Program."
Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, “Health and Lifestyle Program.”

Want to catch up on what you’ve missed?
The road to success is always under construction.
Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down.
Challenge #2 Eliminate cheese as an ingredient.
Challenge #3 Walk sideways in your home.
Challenge #4 Include a fresh herb in your daily meal plan.
Challenge #5 If there is food in your mouth there should be nothing in your hand.
Challenge #6 Eat the MyPlate recommendations for fruits and vegetables.

Challenge #7 Stand (and walk if possible) while talking on the phone.

Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian with Western Bariatric Institute (WBI) with over 25 years experience in weight management and 12 years in bariatric nutrition. Vicki works with both weight loss surgery patients and nonsurgical weight loss patients. Vicki received her master’s degree in nutrition from Montana State University and her Bachelor of Science degree in home economics from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.