Happy Friday gorgeous French people! Today, I am feeling anything but chic! I've caught a cold and it's just so hard to feel chic while coughing and blowing one's nose. But despite this, spring is in the air, and so I am wearing a cute skirt from Ann Taylor Loft, a cashmere blend sweater, and a cute fitted jacket. I'm doing my best to look cute despite the red nose!
Today, Tangled Noodle and I will be discussing Chapters 7-9 in Brian Wansink's book Mindless Eating. Please don't forget to pop over to Tangled's discussion. Here is a little snippet to whet your appetite.
"The title of another well-known book says it all - men are from Mars and women are from Venus. And this holds true even with our attitudes toward food. In Chapters 7-9 of his book Mindless Eating, Brian Wansink alludes to gender differences in our attachments to comfort foods, the influence of primary food providers on future eating habits, and the role of 'health halos' in justifying mindless overeating. But I would like to add my own thoughts on the importance of understanding the ways men and women look at food differently and how it can impact our eating habits. So please join me for Part III of "Mindless" in Minnesota, a discussion of the book Mindless Eating, at Tangled Noodle"
As for me, I will be discussing two studies from Brian Wansink's book Mindless Eating titled, "The Nutritional Gatekeeper and the Good Cook Next Door" as well as, "The McSubway Study and Information Illusions". Let's begin!
The Nutritional Gatekeeper and the Good Cook Next Door
Are you your family's Nutritional Gatekeeper? This is the person who does most of the shopping as well as most of the cooking. The nutritional gatekeeper is consciously or subconsciously in charge of 72% of the food that goes into their family's mouths. Brian Wansink described a "pop-tart starved teenager" who if there are no pop-tarts in the house because the nutritional gatekeeper did not buy them, can no longer eat pop-tarts. What if instead that Nutritional Gatekeeper chopped carrot sticks and put them in the front of the refrigerator. Most likely, the teenager will not borrow the car keys to make a pop-tart run, but will instead start grazing the fridge and will happen upon the carrot sticks.
What sorts of food decisions are you making for your family? Are they healthy choices? Are you enabling "pop-tart decisions" by keeping these foods in the house? You may want to provide these choices, just as long as you are mindful of your role as nutritional gatekeeper and are mindfully making these decisions.
This study also talks about 5 different types of cooks: the giving cook, the healthy cook, the innovative cook, the methodical cook and the competitive cook. Brian Wansink found that most cooks can be categorized neatly into one of these 5 categories. All of the cooks helped their families eat better and more varied meals...except for one. Can you guess which it is? Which kind of cook are you?
From Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink:
"Giving Cooks (22 percent): Friendly, well-liked, and enthusiastic, they specialize in comfort foods for family gatherings and large parties. Giving cooks seldom experiment with new dishes, instead relying on traditional favorites. The only fault of the giving cook is that they tend to provide too many home-baked goodies for their famil.
Healthy Cooks (20 percent): Optimistic, book-loving, nature enthusiasts who are most likely to experiment with fish and with fresh ingredients, including herbs.
Innovative Cooks (19 percent): The most creative, trend-setting of all cooks. They seldom use recipes; they experiment with ingredients, cuisine styles, and cooking methods.
Methodical Cooks (18 percent). Often weekend hobbyists who are talented, but who rely heavily on recipes. Although somewhat inefficient in the kitchen, their creations always look exactly like the picture in the cookbook.
Competitive Cooks (13 percent): The Iron Chef of the neighborhood. Competitive cooks are dominant personalities who cook in order to impress others. These are perfectionists who are intense in both their cooking and entertaining. "
The Giving Cook was the type of cook that did not help their families make better choices. Because they rely so heavily on favorites, the giving cook can end up in ruts and their families tend to eat the same things over and over. However, the giving cook is the most common type of cook. If you are a giving cook, what are some ways you can break out of your rut? How can you introduce your family to new foods?
The McSubway Study and Information Illusions
The last time you were in a Subway restaurant, you may have noticed how prominently they display the nutritional information of their food. It was on my cup, my napkin, on the menu, everywhere. It seems likely that people would then read this information and take it into account to try to make healthier choices. Brian Wansink discovered that most people who dine at Subway, go for the higher fat, higher caloric subs because they are under the impression that everything at Subway is "healthy". They even compensate for the healthier choices by choosing chips, cookies, or soda to go with their "healthy" sandwich. Most people at 200 more calories than they thought they ate. Contrast this with McDonalds where the nutritional information is very difficult to find (although it's getting easier) and where there is no impression that the food is healthy. People still ate an average of 200 calories more than they thought (and a whole heck of a lot more than the people at Subway). The McDonalds eaters ate those extra calories because they liked the McDonalds food, not because they were under the impression it was healthy.
Where do you fall into the "healthy" trap? My mother in law will serve a Cobb salad for dinner (not really a low calorie dinner) as an excuse to have dessert. It is the impression that the Cobb salad is healthy for which she compensates with the high calorie dessert. Do you tend to overeat in situations where the food is perceived as healthier? Do you offset the health of the food with high fat/high calorie sides?
Next week, Tangled Noodle and I will be finishing the book Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink. Also, don't forget to pick up a copy of April's French Friday book The French Don't Diet Plan by Dr. Will Clower. See you here next week in our virtual sidewalk cafe. A bientot!