Healthy Tip: Eat Less, Drink Tea

In Marion Nestle’s book, What To Eat, she gives the answer to the title’s queston in ten words: “Eat less, move more, eat lots of fruits and vegetables.” I’ve got that third part of the answer covered — fruits and vegetables make up the bulk of my diet and I actually crave them (versus when I was a kid and forced myself to eat the pile of soggy green beans on my dinner plate). The first two are more challenging for me, as I am very lazy and am not one of those people who gets up in the morning, puts on my running shoes and runs ten miles every day (I lived with someone for a while who did do that every day without fail and felt guilty every time she came back into the house after a run while I was in the middle of  making chocolate chip pancakes), and I also tend to overeat. I have a little cousin (who turns 17 today — happy birthday, kiddo!) who has a very mild appetite — she eats when she’s hungry and doesn’t when she’s not. I, on the other hand, love food (hence the cooking blog) and love to cook, and it’s hard for me to stop eating, even when I feel full.

So, today’s blog post is going to focus on the “eat less” (i.e. eat fewer calories) part of Marion Nestle’s answer to the question “what to eat” (and we can tackle the “move more” part later, maybe when the weather gets nicer and I buy a new pair of running shoes — my dogs chewed mine up, probably because I hadn’t worn them in so long they mistook them for toys). As the title of this blog post suggests, “drink tea” is my solution to overeating. Just to be clear, I do not mean to drink tea instead of eating in order to lose weight. Starvation is not what I mean at all. What I mean is if it’s 9 p.m. and I’ve already eaten dinner, I’m not hungry, but I’m craving some of the chocolate chip cookies I made the night before (and I shouldn’t be eating all of that sugar right before bed anyway — that’s a post for another day), I decide to make myself a cup of (caffeine-free) tea instead. This is a good choice for so many reasons, including:

  • The water fills you up but you aren’t eating more calories — you were craving more food, but your body didn’t need more, so the tea (hopefully a flavor you enjoy) should help to curb your cravings.
  • The warmth of the tea aids digestion.
  • Depending on the tea flavor you choose, the tea is a calming end to your day. I enjoy a spicy cinnamon or a lavender tea right before bed. (That is if you are drinking the tea post-dinner. It can also be a calming moment at the beginning or the middle of the day — just take a few minutes to pause and reflect on your day.)
  • We could all stand to drink a little more water.

I’ve made it a nightly ritual to enjoy a cup of tea before bed, and I’ve come to look forward to it. It’s a nice way to wind down before bed.

I made waffles this morning and made a cup of tea instead of having a third waffle, which I wasn’t hungry for but wanted because the waffles were so delicious. Wouldn’t you want a third waffle too?

In case you are looking for a good teapot to make your tea in, I have a stump teapot from FORLIFE and love it.

And if you say to me, “I don’t like tea,” I will say, “Give it a try.” There are so many flavors of tea out there, you’re bound to find one that you like. My personal favorite is a spicy cinnamon one. I recommend caffeine-free teas, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine like me, but if you like the caffeine, then go right ahead. 🙂 So much to eating healthier is about developing new, healthier habits. Give it a try for a week and if you really hate it, don’t force yourself.

*Just to be clear, I have no formal eduction in nutrition — this is just what has worked for me. I’d love to hear feedback if any of this works/doesn’t work for you.

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