In my last 3 weeks, I’ve shared with you why I dislike the term “superfood”, what the licensing effect is, and why the phrase “everything in moderation” is probably hurting us more than helping us. It was a lot of “I don’t”, so today I’m going to share with you my “I do.” It’s so easy, and it really has made a huge difference in how I handle food choices.


I ask myself three quick questions before I eat anything:

  • Am I hungry?
  • Is it smart?
  • How much do I need?


Asking myself these three things creates a mindfulness with my food choices. There are no right or wrong answers. It’s all about being honest with yourself!


Here’s a few scenarios:


  • Am I hungry? Hmmm, I’ve had my regular meals and snacks, but haven’t had much water yet today, I might actually be thirsty. I know that the signals my brains give for hunger and thirst are the same, so I’m going to try drinking a big glass of water first and wait 15 minutes and see how I feel.


  • Am I hungry? Yes! I haven’t eaten in hours! I’m out running errands and I forgot to bring my snacks. Is it smart? Well, I’m standing here at a vending machine because I’m famished, and given the choices available, I’ll choose the package of nuts. How much do I need? It’s a tiny package of nuts, but I’ll read the nutrition info on the package being sure to check how many servings are in the bag. I’ll probably eat the whole thing, but what I won’t do is also have that cookie that’s staring at me, because it’s not smart and I don’t need it.


  • Am I hungry? Nope. But it’s that time of the month and I want some ice cream. Is it smart? Nope, but I REALLY want that ice cream. How much do I need? Ok, I’m going to buy the single serving cup and not the pint, I’m going to turn off the tv or other distractions, and I’m going to allow myself to enjoy this ice cream, truly savoring every bite, without any guilt. When it’s done, I might feel like I want more for a little while, but I won’t feel like I NEED it anymore.


  • Am I hungry? Yup, I’m home from work, it’s dinner time, I haven’t eaten since lunch. Is it smart? It is! I made this awesome vegetable-based soup over the weekend. How much do I need? I’m going to have a medium sized bowl, and a slice of whole-grain toast. WINNING!

These three questions make a huge difference in my food choices when I’m regularly using them. No calories to count or points to add up, they counteract the licensing effect, and help me decide if I’m truly being moderate in my food choices (or if that moderation has become habit). Let me know if you plan to start using these questions in the comments!