Pre-eating is the term I will use for eating before dinner (after reading Sarah Wilson’s post on this… I think it’s a great name!) – whether it’s nuts, crackers, or whatever else is lurking in the cupboards, I’m sure we’re all guilty of eating when we get home from work whilst dinner is cooking. And I’m no different… I do it most days! But the question is whydo we do it and how do we stop it?
Are we really that hungry that we can’t wait another 30 minutes for our dinner? Surely not – we have only eaten lunch a few hours before… so what’s the real cause?
Our will power is limited. After we’ve been healthy all day, both our will power and our bodies are exhausted by the time we get home at 6pm and, more importantly, our blood sugar levels are flagging. This is why, when we pre-eat, we tend to reach for carby-food as it is a quick fix to the ’emptiness’ you may be feeling. This is the main reason I believe we pre-eat, but I also think it has to do with habit and boredom. How many people get home and head straight for the fridge door? I would guess that at least the majority of people do – I’ve witnessed it so many times (and done it myself)!
You might be thinking: “Ok, so I pre-eat… and what?” Well, I believe this is a contributing factor towards why, generally speaking, we are getting fat. How? Pre-eating takes the edge off our appetite, meaning we are not as hungry when we actually sit down to eat our dinner. For this reason, we might choose to leave some of the nutritious food on our plates and only pick at the ‘yummiest’ bits. Not only this, but a lot of people dislike leaving food on their plate (me included) so they will go on to finish their meal even though they aren’t even that hungry anymore. Therefore, we end up eating more than our body needs and hence put on weight.
I would like to offer you a few tricks I’ve been trying to stop my pre-eating:
Eat dinner earlier. This seems like a very simple solution, but it works. Rather than waiting until 7:30/8pm to eat dinner and getting so hungry in the meantime, start cooking your dinner as soon as you get home.
Prepare your meals. I tend to only pre-eat when I have to wait for ages for my food to be ready. Instead, try cooking in bulk at the beginning of the week so your meals are ready to go when you get home. Even if you want to cook your protein fresh every night (which I completely understand), try preparing vegetable dishes beforehand e.g. roasted vegetables, cauliflower rice, homemade salads.
Eat a proper lunch. If you restrict your food intake too much in the day, you’ll be starving by the time you get home. Not only will this lead to snacking before dinner, but it’s also unhealthy – fill yourself up with lots of healthy protein and fats and don’t just eat a few lettuce leaves.
Have a shower. I find this helps clear my head and take my mind off food/hunger. Once I’ve had my shower I tend to walk into the kitchen with a much clearer mind.
When temptation hits, eat the right foods. If you really can’t wait for dinner, snack on the right foods – have some raw veggies e.g. carrot sticks/celery. Not only will this curb your appetite with nutritious food, but raw food is so good for you (more on this coming soon….)
I hope I have helped shed some light on this concept of ‘pre-eating’. If you’ve read this thinking “yep, I do that”, then I challenge you to try not to for a few days – you’ll enjoy your dinner so much more! And if you have any other ideas or tricks on how to prevent pre-eating, please share!!