May Contain Nuts “Learned Behaviour”

Learned Behaviours

How many times were you told as a child you had to eat everything on your plate? If you are anything like me, I am going to guess you heard it until the day you moved out-and then again every time you visit home! Many of our parents lived in the “waste not want not” era where nothing, especially food, was wasted (my great aunt will reuse a tea bag to save a little). They thought they were teaching us a lesson, that our eyes were bigger than our bellies. To prove their point we were forced to sit at the table, pushing peas through mashed potatoes with our fork until it was all gone or our parents gave up; and they never gave up! How many of you, as now adults, feel compelled to eat everything on your plate regardless of the signals your stomach sent your brain telling you you were full 5 bites ago! Why do we do this? Because our parents did indeed teach us a lesson- one that causes us to override our body’s internal regulation system and perhaps pack on some extra pounds. Instead, our parents could have taught us to listen to our bodies: eat more when we are more hungry, eat less when we are less hungry.

Sounds simple, right?

Then why the constant struggle? Once our bodies realize we are no longer going to listen to its internal regulation system, it, unlike our parents, gives up! It becomes harder and harder for our brains to hear the messages our stomachs are sending, and us in turn, stop eating, even when there is still food left on our plates. Now, I am not saying load up that plate, eat what your body wants and garbage the rest. Take smaller portions and allow yourself to go back for more, using a smaller plate can help with this. Or pack leftovers for lunch the next day!


It takes time for our brains to get back in tune with our bodies. Take time when you are eating. Put the fork down between bites. This gives our brain and stomach a chance to communicate and for you to hear the message: pick up that fork and keep eating, or stop. Some days this will result in you eating more, some days less, it all depends what that day consist of. Trust your body to tell you when it has had enough. Most important: enjoy the food you are eating!

Jenelle McAuley, RD (c)




12 slices lean center cut bacon, cooked and chopped
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup light mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s)
1/8 tsp kosher salt
fresh black pepper, to taste
6 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
4 oz (1 medium) avocado, diced


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the diced tomatoes with the mayonnaise, and season with a little salt and fresh cracked pepper. Set aside for about 10 minutes to let the tomatoes release their juices as this will be the “dressing” to your salad.
  2. To serve, divide the chopped lettuce and tomatoes onto 4 plates, then top each with diced avocado, chopped bacon and tomato mixture.