Simplify Your Food Choices
When it comes to changing eating behavior, it’s common to jump directly to weighing, measuring and tracking food. For most people, that’s not necessary right away. Start with simple and make it more complex – the minimum effective dose principle, applied to nutrition!
We call this idea, “The Food Funnel.”
At the very top of the funnel is the food log – write it down or take a picture on your phone of each meal that you eat. Seeing the “bigger picture” gives us more awareness of what we’re eating – it builds the foundation of understanding nutritional habits.
The second step towards complexity is the portioned plate. Split your plate into thirds, halves or quarters, depending on your goals, and place different food groups into each section. For example, one third is your lean protein, another third is your starch or fruit portion and the last is your vegetables like leafy greens. That’s it at this level of the funnel!
This step is more mindful and thoughtful because you’re thinking ahead of time before putting food on your plate – the approach becomes proactive. It’s also more personalized because you’re eating more towards your goals.
Further down the funnel is visual portion sizes. One of the easiest ways to do this is use your own hand – for example, one fist sized portion of your lean protein. This step is more specific because you’re in the beginning phase of controlling portions with goals in mind. Bigger portions would result in weight gain and smaller portions would result in weight loss.
Finally, the time comes for weighing, measuring and tracking food. The last stage in the funnel that is the most specific towards guiding nutrition to meet your goals. This is where performance-based nutrition comes into the picture.
If you’re new to this – if you want to change your eating habits – don’t start at the bottom by weighing, measuring and tracking your food. Start with simple and easy, the very beginning of the funnel. As you begin more comfortable, you can move down the funnel towards complexity and specificity.