The absolute worst time to decide what to eat

power-of-planningThree years ago, in an episode of the Nutrition Diva podcast, I talked about the power of planning:

“I find I make far better choices when I plan ahead—and I bet the same is true for you. One of the interesting things about human nature is that we tend to make different choices for our future selves than we do for our present selves.

“Choices that we make for our future selves are more likely to be in line with our larger goals, such as eating healthy or saving money. Decisions that we make in the moment tend to focus more on short-term desires and instant gratification.”

My observations were recently borne out by a series of experiments done at Carnegie Mellon. Subjects who chose their selected meals or snacks hours or even days ahead of time made better choices than those who chose their meals right before they ate them.

The worst time to decide what you’re going to eat is when you’re hungry. This is true whether you’re standing in front of the refrigerator, pushing your grocery cart down the aisle, or scanning the menu at a restaurant.

My podcast episode includes 4 practical tips for leveraging the power of planning to improve your food choices. You can read or listen to it here.

One thought on “The absolute worst time to decide what to eat

  1. One of the things that helped me the most was learning to log my food into the tracker BEFORE i ate it, especially near the end of the day when I was trying to meet certain goals for macros and nutrients which I am still learning about.

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