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Better Bites: 4 Tips for Smarter Eating

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD Wellness Services Corporate Dietitian

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Mar 20th, 2018

Bite-size foods are not only fun to eat, they may help us eat less! When foods are in petite portions, have you noticed you tend to be more engaged with eating them and in tune with their flavors and how hungry or satisfied you are? You are not alone! Here are some great reasons to include better bites into your daily routine and some fun recipes to get you started!

Portion Power

Portion sizes have changed dramatically in the past 20 years and research has shown that the larger the portions we are served, the more we tend to eat. This change in portion sizes has taken a toll on the calories we consume, particularly for people who eat out often. Let’s look at the All-American take out meal as an example. The usual cheeseburger 20 years ago was about 222 calories, while the typical cheeseburger served today totals closer to 600 calories. Twenty years ago, a serving of French fries was around 210 calories. A serving today can add up to a whopping 600. And no, you aren’t imagining it, even cookies have gotten bigger! Luckily, this egg-less, flour-less recipe for Light Cookie Dough Bites comes in a petite portion! They taste like real cookie dough but they are nutritionally more like a performance snack ball, allowing you to snack guilt-free.

Cookie Dough Bites

Balanced Bites

A bite of food that is balanced with some protein, smart fat and fiber has a better chance of satisfying your hunger for longer. Try these yummy Omega Walnut Quinoa Bites (they taste like falafel sliders) for a tasty combination of nuts, beans and a whole grain. Protein comes from the quinoa and garbanzo beans and even a bit from the walnuts and egg whites, while the wholesome carbohydrates come from the quinoa and beans. Walnuts and extra virgin olive oil top it all off with a nice dose of healthy fats. Research has uncovered benefits of eating dietary fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in foods like salmon, walnuts and avocados. Walnuts, for example, are certified as a heart-healthy food through the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check program and a one-ounce handful of walnuts is an excellent source of plant omega-3s!

Omega Quinoa Bites

Snacking Solutions

Snacking may do two things– it may help control appetite or it may contribute to recreational eating and excess calories. How can we make sure it does the first option? Aim to snack only when you are physically hungry and choose snacks that are made up of mostly whole foods contributing helpful nutrients. Including snacks that contribute some protein, good fats and fiber, served in sensible amounts, will help keep you from going overboard on calories. Snacks for people who are less active might want to stay around 200 calories or less according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Here are two nutrient-packed snack recipes to inspire scrumptious but sensible snacking. First, Mocha Java Power Bites featuring walnuts, dates, unsweetened coconut and cocoa and decaf coffee crystals make for a bite-sized sweet treat!

Mocha Java Bites

Second, for a tasty and cleaver way to enjoy broccoli, try these oven-fried Broccoli Parmesan Bites, made with broccoli florets, breadcrumbs, egg whites, flour, an egg and shredded parmesan, of course!

Broccoli Bites

Playing with Your Food

Yes, it’s okay to play with your food! In fact, because it engages more of your senses, it can be good for you! Food that you interact with by dipping, cracking, rolling or picking up with chopsticks, may be more satisfying not only to your tummy, but your brain too. A small cup of pistachios or sunflower seeds in shells will take longer to eat than a small cup of shelled nuts, for example. This Waffled Pizza Bite recipe forces you to engage while eating by allowing you to dip your personalized pizza snack in your favorite pizza or marinara sauce. Completely customize your pizza bites by starting with your favorite 100% whole grain bread slices then choose your pizza bite filling! Try turkey pepperoni slices, chopped green onions, sliced sautéed mushrooms, chopped garlic, ham pieces, finely-diced pineapple, finely-chopped bell peppers or anything else you can think of!

 

Waffled Pizza Bites

Armed with these four fast facts, you are ready to start conquering smaller snacks and petite portions! Try the recipes above and let us know what you think in the comment section and find more inspiration on our Pinterest page!

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