4 Eating Habits You Didn’t Know Were Bad

Ever “save up” calories all day so you can splurge at a gathering? While it may sound like a smart eating decision, that practice may actually lead to overeating. We talked to registered dietitian Lisa Stollman to help you identify why this and three other common food blunders aren’t as good-for-you as you may have thought -- and how to fix them.

1. Not eating much during the day to save calories for a gathering.

The Problem:
 You’ll likely get to the party starving. This means you’ll be more inclined to make poor eating decisions -- like shoveling mini-pizzas and fried egg rolls into your mouth within minutes.

Fix it: Don't skip meals during the day, and always eat a small meal or snack before you leave for the soirée. That way you (not the food) will be in control.

2. Saving up food calories for alcoholic drinks.

The Problem: When you drink a cocktail on an empty stomach, the alcohol enters your bloodstream more quickly, according to Medline Plus, making you feel the effects sooner. Bottom line: You’ll be more likely to make unhealthy food choices.

Fix it: If you arrive at a restaurant and haven’t eaten since lunch, have some food first before you drink, suggests Stollman. Ideally, aim to eat before you leave home. (One nutritious option: having a handful of cereal, like Kellogg's® Raisin Bran®.) And be sure to drink a lot of water throughout the evening -- it will keep you hydrated, and may help boost your body’s water content, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center, so you’re less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks. “You should leave the restaurant feeling good because you didn't overindulge in food and spirits,” says Stollman.

3. Baking tons of small cookies and sweets to have on hand for company.

The Problem: The treats are always in your kitchen, calling your name. Unless you hate sweets, chances are, you’ll nibble a few even when company isn’t over.

Fix it: This year, make fewer calorie-rich desserts when company’s coming over. Instead, focus on creating fresh fruit plates featuring exotic fruits, such as dragon fruit, mango, papaya and lychee. You can also make a healthy sundae bar with nonfat, protein-rich Greek yogurt as your base. The fun part is adding yogurt toppings with texture and flavor -- from sweet dried and fresh fruit to nuts and crunchy cereals, such as Kellogg's® Special K®. Enjoy your healthy sundae according to your tastes to create a custom dessert.

4. Eating quickly so you can save calories by getting away from the food faster.

The Problem: When you eat fast, you usually eat too much, since it takes time for the food we eat to move from the stomach to the intestines -- therefore requiring a longer period of time for fullness to register with the brain.

Fix it: Use a small salad plate if you’re at a buffet. Take small bites and chew each at least 20 times. By the time your stomach has felt the first sensation of fullness and signaled your brain that you’ve had enough to eat, you will most likely still have food on your plate, says Stollman. Put the plate aside and enjoy your time with your friends!