Nibbling While Cooking

Nibbling while you’re cooking can be a huge calorie sink. You may justify your nibbles by saying, “Well I have to taste to make sure that what I’m cooking will turn out right.” Also, you’re already touching the food, it’s right in your hot little hands, which makes it so much tougher to resist.

The other piece of this is that if you’re making a meal, chances are you’re hungry. It’s right before eating time and there you are seeing, touching, and smelling luscious food. Talk about a challenge!  Particularly if you’ve reinforced the habits of cooking and nibbling and cooking and tasting, they can take awhile to shift.

One way to approach this conundrum is to take a stand but put reasonable and doable boundaries around it. You can decided that just for today, not necessarily for the rest of your life, you’re going to create a no nibbling rule. If a morsel crosses your gums today, it’s because you’ve made a conscious decision to allow it. It’s part of your plan. It’s a meal and as such it deserves to be on a plate with your butt firmly planted in a chair during its consumption. Just to rehash:

Rule one: If you’re going to eat something, the food has to be on a plate.

Rule two: Your butt must be on a chair.

Here comes rule number three: you need to circumscribe your cooking time as sacrosanct. For today it’s inviolable.

Rule three: No food crosses your gums while you are eating. This was my original rule until a cook reminded me that any cook worth his or her salt needs to taste the food during preparations. So my new Rule Three is no food crosses your gums while cooking unless you’re making a conscious choice to taste. When you need to taste to adjust the flavors, grab a plate and pull up a chair. I know it sounds silly, but watch how this helps you break the nibbling while cooking habit.

As a personal mini challenge, see if you can implement these rules, just for today. Notice what happens. Notice how many times you catch your hand reaching for the food and pull it back. This should give you an idea of just how many unaccounted for calories have found their way down your gullet. It’s not a surprise that our waistlines expand if we’ve become incessant nibblers.

Chances are if we’re cooking, no one else is around. Everyone else is off doing his or her thing and there we are in the kitchen with all of that delicious food to ourselves! If we’re food lovers, this is our heaven. So of course we’ll do the cooking, no problem!

The only problem comes in when we can’t fit into our clothes. So see if you can begin to shift the cooking and nibbling habit just for one day. I know you can do it. Heck if I can do it, anyone can!

If you can do it for one day then you can do it for two. It gets easier and easier. Believe it or not once you’ve created this new non-nibbling habit, if you forget and start to nibble it again it will feel strange and unnatural. You’ll realize what you’re doing, look down at your hand, and exclaim, “What is this hand doing in the food while I’m cooking?”