TIME health

5 Things That Make You Overeat

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Businessman working on a laptop at breakfast table Getty Images

We eat solo about half of the time, according to a recent report. We dine alone 60% of the time at breakfast, 55% of the time at lunch, and up to 70% of the time when eating snacks. The solitary dining trend is due in part to on-the-go lifestyles, as well as the fact that nearly one third of households consist of just one person.

Whether you live alone or with your significant other or family, you may find yourself eating in a different way when you dine by yourself. Specifically, if you’re like many of my clients, you’re probably falling into some unhealthy eating traps. Here are five common dine-alone conundrums, along with practical ways to thwart them.

Health.com: 10 Weight Loss Mistakes Everyone Makes

Relying on processed convenience food

I’ve had numerous clients tell me that they don’t make meals from scratch when they dine alone, because they think, ‘why bother going to the trouble just for one person?’ As a result, they find themselves relying on frozen dinners or packaged products, and that quality difference can negatively affect your waistline. One recent study found that we burn about 50% more calories metabolizing whole foods versus processed foods. In other words, it’s not just about the total calories you consume; some prep and cooking time is a worthy investment, even for a solo meal. To keep it fresh, simple, and relatively fast, consider whipping up breakfast for dinner. You can sauté fresh veggies like tomatoes, onion, spinach, and mushrooms in low sodium organic veggie broth with garlic and herbs, and then pair it with either scrambled organic eggs or mashed white beans. Serve this over a small portion of healthy starch, such as quinoa or brown rice, and top with sliced avocado for healthy fat.

Health.com: 14 Ways to Cut Portions Without Feeling Hungry

Making too much

One of the biggest challenges many of my clients face when dining solo is making more than they need, which results in eating extra portions. I know it’s really a pain, or sometimes impossible, to make just a half cup of quinoa, for example. So if you cook more than you need for a single meal, keep a BPA-free storage container at the ready to stash your surplus in the fridge. And to check yourself, consider pulling out your measuring cups and spoons. Eating just 20% more than you need meal after meal can keep you about 20 pounds heavier–so while quality food rules, managing quantity is still key for weight control.

Eating while distracted

Eating alone often involves eating while doing something else–watching TV, checking email, reading, or surfing the web. And distracted eating is a major setup for overeating. When you aren’t paying attention, it’s easy to become disconnected from how much you’re eating, or how full you feel. And when you’re out of touch with the eating experience–not noticing the aromas, flavors, and textures because you’re multitasking–you’re more likely to feel unsatisfied, which can lead to post-meal snacking. I know it may feel awkward, but when dining alone, try to sit at a table and just eat. You may be surprised at how much more you enjoy your meal, and how much more satisfied you feel. In fact, many people have told me that establishing this habit resulted in getting excited about cooking again, so they could experiment with new recipes or seasonings.

Health.com: 10 Types of Hunger and How to Control Them

Gobbling too fast

Since dining alone isn’t social, you may be tempted to rush through a meal, in order to get onto your next task. But in addition to potentially triggering bloating and acid reflux, speed eating is a recipe for weight gain. One study of 3,000 people found that fast eaters were 84% more likely to be overweight. Set a goal to simply slow down; put your utensil or food down between bites, take a few breaths between forkfuls, and chew more thoroughly.

Mindless nibbling

Another common pitfall associated with eating solo is mindlessly nibbling, especially on snacks. One of my clients who often worked from home found herself grabbing whatever was within reach throughout the day, an apple from the fruit bowl, one of her son’s granola bars or hubby’s energy bars, a handful of jarred nuts…. If you’re in the same boat, the best remedy is to keep food out of your sightline, and schedule your meals and snacks. When this client began working from a desk rather than a kitchen stool, and set her cell phone alarm for a designated lunch and afternoon snack time, the extra noshing went away, and so did the excess pounds.

Health.com: A Slacker’s Guide to Losing Weight Without Trying

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Food & Drink

All-Nutella Restaurant Coming to New York City

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post—Getty Images

Sweet idea!

Attention Nutella fans: Book a ticket to Brooklyn and pack the pants with the stretchiest waistbands, because an all-Nutella restaurant is opening in Park Slope, Grub Street reports.

The menu for the soon-to-open aptly-named restaurant Nutelleria is filled with chocolate-nut spread-filled delights, including breakfast pizzas, crepes, croissants and a bacon-banana-Nutella waffle sandwich, that should give Mario Batali and Dominique Ansel a run for his money (unless they team up to serve Nutella-filled Cronuts).

The exact opening day for the restaurant run by self-described “Nutella enthusiasts” is still to be determined, but buzz is already building around the chocoholic’s dream spot, who may already be eying opening an additional location in Miami.

While Nutella freaks worldwide love the concept, Ferrero, the Italian company that makes Nutella, may not be a fan. In the past, the company has sent cease and desist letters to Nutella visionaries around the world, including Boloco, a New England chain that sold a Nutella-yogurt shake on the grounds that they “don’t endorse the use of Nutella or the Nutella brand in frozen beverages,” as well as the creator of World Nutella Day. Plus, the company has its own Nutella bar set up across the East River in Eataly and may not take a shine to the competition, even though there’s probably more than enough Nutella love to go around.

Don’t worry, there are always these Nutella alternatives.

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TIME

Soon You’ll Be Able to Eat “Schweddy Balls”

In honor of SNL's historic 40th season next year

The “Salty Peanut Butter Malt Ball” candy made famous in the iconic Saturday Night Live sketch starring Alec Baldwin, Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon, will jump from the TV screen to the candy aisle.

On the heels of a successful collaboration with Ben & Jerry’s, SNL has partnered with the candy company It’Sugar to make Schweddy Balls in honor of the late night show’s upcoming 40th anniversary next year, USA Today and Eater report.

More than 50 other fictional snacks and novelty gifts culled from SNL sketches and digital shorts will also become a tasty reality, according to USA Today. In addition to the balls you “can’t wait to get your mouth around” the product line will also include high-fiber Colon Blow Cereal, Stefon’s Pop n’ Rock Party Bars, Debbie Downer mints, Night at the Roxbury-themed chocolate bars and Schmitts Gay Beer.

The items will be available at It’Sugar locations, as well as online starting September 13, so you can stock up and give all the trick-or-treaters Schweddy Balls for Halloween.

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TIME food and drink

Ice Cream Genius Makes Treat That Changes Color When You Lick It

The most delicious master's thesis ever

The global push for STEM education probably wasn’t for producing this kind of scientific innovation: color changing ice cream.

But that’s where Michael Linares, a Spanish physicist and electrical engineer, has decided to focus his talents by creating an ice cream that changes color when you lick it, according to his local Spanish news site. Called Xamaleón, a play on the Spanish word for chameleon, the ice cream starts at a lavender color before it’s sprayed with what Linares calls a “love elixir.” Once you lick it, it turns magenta.

The dessert technology is patent pending, and details on how the “love elixir” blesses the ice cream with chameleonic powers are secret. (Some reports are saying the mysterious potion indeed has aphrodisiac properties.) Linares has disclosed to Gizmodo that the “love elixir,” originally his master’s thesis, is “entirely made with natural ingredients,” and that he’s also working on two variations: one that changes under UV lights at nightclubs, and another that’ll turn from pink to white all on its own.

The color changing ice cream is currently available at only his ice cream shop in Girona, Spain.

TIME food and drink

This Company Is Making Millions By Giving You 5 Fewer Chips Per Bag

Lay's-New Flavor
Using images provided by Frito-Lay, this composite image shows the four finalists for its 2014 "Do Us a Flavor" contest in the U.S. Associated Press

Lay's flavored bags contain slightly fewer chips than regular bags, and the savings add up

The truth is out: yes, some bags of Lay’s potato chips do in fact contain fewer chips. It’s intentional, and it’s saving the company millions.

Lay’s regular packs are 10 oz., but the company’s bags of flavored chips are 9.5 oz, yet both sell for $4.29, according to the Associated Press. The difference is equivalent to roughly 5-6 chips. And while that gap is saving consumers about 75 greasy calories, the biggest benefits are to Lay’s parent company, PepsiCo, which raised its full-year earnings forecast Wednesday in part because of these flavored bags, whose interesting tastes were crowdsourced by potato chip-loving Americans.

Just how much is Lay’s making? Cutting half an ounce from a bag while leaving its price unchanged correlates roughly to a 21 cents-per-bag saving. Lay’s potato chips bring in over $1 billion annually in retail sales, equivalent to over 200 million bags, if the average price per bag is somewhere around $4. At 21 cents saved per bag, the total amount saved is therefore upwards of $50 million—quite a lot for Lay’s considering the tiny amount of chips on which consumers miss out.

The fewer chips strategy is a tack-on to PepsiCo’s larger effort to cut costs through productivity increases, a plan announced in 2012 that’s expected to save PepsiCo $1 billion annually through 2019. Overall this quarter, PepsiCo saw a 5% rise in worldwide on global organic snack revenue, and even a 2% global increase in global beverage sales. The two upward sales and general cost cutting are vital for PepsiCo’s ongoing battle against investor Nelson Peltz, a stakeholder who’s launched a campaign urging PepsiCo to split its snack business from its sluggish beverage business.

In the coming months, the reduced flavored bags will continue to benefit sales volume for Frito-Lay North America, according to PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston.

 

 

TIME Companies

This Is the Scandal McDonald’s Is Dealing With Now

Firms cut ties to Shanghai-based supplier after allegations revive memories of 2012 scandal

+ READ ARTICLE

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

McDonald’s Corp and Yum Brands Inc are embroiled in a new scandal over food safety in China after one of its suppliers came under investigation for allegedly selling expired beef and chicken.

The episode threatens to throw a wrench in the pair’s efforts to get over a similar scandal in 2012, when they were accused of selling chicken products with excessive amounts of antibiotics.

Yum is the parent of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell and is the biggest operator of fast-food restaurants in China, having first opened KFC there in 1987, while McDonald’s has recently been lost second place, in terms of stores, to Taiwan-based Dicos.

Yum had said only last week that like-for-like sales in China had risen 15% in the second quarter, and that KFC sales had risen 21%, a badly-needed boost in view of falling sales in the U.S. at KFC and Pizza Hut.

For the rest of the story, go to Fortune.com.

TIME Companies

How Chick-fil-A Totally Crushed KFC, Popeyes

Chick-fil-A Is a Growing Threat in Fast Food Market
A U.S. flag flies outside a Chick-fil-A Inc. restaurant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in March 2014. Bloomberg via Getty Images

Wall Street is paying closer attention to Chick-fil-A, which has discreetly surpassed fast food giants despite its limited presence and tainted reputation

Investors are eyeing the privately-held Chick-fil-A, a rising fast food chain that’s quietly emerged as a competitive threat against publicly-traded giants like McDonald’s and KFC.

Unbeknownst to many, Chick-fil-A has dethroned Colonel Sanders to claim the greatest market share in the American limited-service chicken segment, according to a new report from Janney Capital Markets (JCM). Its rise to chicken champion actually occurred in 2012 when Chick-fil-A won 25.1% market share, slightly more than KFC’s 24.4%, a remarkable growth story shadowed by controversy over Chick-fil-A’s owner’s social views and other strange reports.

Here’s a time-lapse chart with data from JCM showing how Chick-fil-A has gobbled up market share from KFC, Popeyes and other chicken chains like Zaxby’s and Bojangles’ Famous between 1999 and 2013:

On the surface, Chick-fil-A pales in comparison to its competitors: it has only 1,700 stores, a small handful compared to KFC’s 4,491 stores, and because it’s a private company its financials are undisclosed, making it impossible to know precisely its earnings. Yet the report estimates that Chick-fil-A posts an average annual growth rate of 12.7% — huge when compared to KFC’s 1% — thanks to its strong sales and store expansion.

But it’s not Chick-fil-A’s newfound dominance over KFC or Popeyes that interests investors—it’s that Chick-fil-A could soon overpower McDonald’s. While the golden arches have dominated the American fast food market, McDonald’s reported declining U.S. sales in recent months, a trend that might allow Chick-fil-A to steal McDonald’s growth opportunities over the next 10 years, according to the report.

McDonald’s is projected to add between $1 and $10.3 billion to its U.S. sales between 2014 and 2023, while Chick-fil-A is projected to add between $6.3 and $9.0 billion, indicating that Chick-fil-A is nowhere near done growing, especially as it expands northward to compete with McDonald’s stores.

“Chick-fil-A should get more attention from the Street in coming years, in part because it represents a growing competitive threat to other sizable quick-service chains, perhaps most notably McDonald’s,” the report states. “It is entirely possible that [Chick-fil-A's sales growth] will be similar to—or worst-case, from McDonald’s perspective—greater than the systemwide sales that McDonald’s can add to its domestic business over that same time.”

 

 

TIME food and drink

These Maps Show Why Half the World Prefers Kind of Gross Coffee

Half World Prefers Instant Coffee to Fresh Coffee
Instant coffee and fresh coffee beans from Eastern Cape, South Africa. Neil Overy—Getty Images

As in instant coffee, the clumpy powder that dissolves in water

For fresh coffee-loving Westerners — a love so deep it’s worth a legal war — it may come as a shock that the other half of the world prefers what Americans can barely fathom: instant coffee. (And no, coffee pods don’t count.)

Preferences for fresh coffee and instant coffee largely dominate the Western and Eastern Hemispheres, respectively, according to a new report by Euromonitor International. The split is closely aligned to the coffee-tea preference split, and not coincidentally: regions like the Asia-Pacific where tea is the dominant hot drink are emerging coffee markets, where the affordable, do-it-yourself nature of instant coffee is only just beginning to induct tea-drinkers into the coffee-drinking lifestyle. Moreover, instant coffee pre-mixed with cream and sugar appeal to Asian palates more than fresh, bitter coffee.

Here’s a map showing which countries prefer instant or fresh coffee, roughly split by an imaginary line dividing the West and the East:

Instant Coffee vs Fresh Coffee Map
Euromonitor International

And for comparison, here’s a map showing which countries prefer coffee or tea, with roughly the same split:

Coffee Tea Preference Map
Euromonitor International

There are, however, some exceptions to the rule of tea drinkers preferring instant coffee (and likewise, coffee drinkers preferring fresh coffee). In tea-dominant India, fresh coffee has seen an explosion of popularity among young people with the rise of specialist coffee shop culture. The coffee powder is readily available in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for half of instant coffee’s global retail volume. In coffee-dominant Mexico, instant coffee is positioned as a “utilitarian beverage,” marketed as a cheaper and more convenient drink than fresh coffee.

In fact, instant coffee isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Several of the top growth markets for coffee, such as China, prefer instant coffee. Even in regions like the UK, which prefers instant coffee, the rising popularity of fresh coffee — the choice throughout most of Western Europe — hasn’t yet supplanted instant coffee, which has remained relevant by a diverse array of products and strong brand positioning.

Top Coffee Growth Markets, 2013-2018
Euromonitor International

Nescafé and Jacobs are the most popular instant coffee brands worldwide.

TIME Fast Food

Pizza Hut Is Now Selling Giant Cookies Cut Like Pizza

Pizza Hut's Cookie Pizza
Pizza Hut's Cookie Pizza Pizza Hut/Yum!

A new dessert item

Pizza Hut’s menu just got a little sweeter. The pizza chain will begin delivering giant chocolate chip cookies sliced up like their famous pies on Monday.

Pizza Hut teased the new menu item on its Facebook page Sunday night.

The cookie, formally named the “Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie” will cost $4.99 with a pizza and $5.99 alone, the Chicago Tribune reports, and serves about 8. On Wenesday, 10% of each cookie’s sale will go to the World Food Programme during a nation-wide “bake sale.”

“Millennials tell us it’s what they want,” Carrie Walsh, chief marketing officer at Pizza Hut, told USA Today of the new pizza cookie. “They like to cap off a great pizza with a great dessert.”

TIME food and drink

Here’s Exactly What’s in Those Hot Dogs You Ate This Weekend

You celebrated America's independence by eating a fleshy tube filled with "lower-grade muscle trimmings," and worse

Happy Independence Day weekend! Did you happen to catch the most important event? No, not fireworks. Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Begun in 1972 and held in the same Coney Island, N.Y. location since then, the contest pits approximately 20 competitive eaters against each other, for glory (and processed meats).

The contest itself has garnered around 1 – 1.5 million viewers on ESPN since 2004, and the media furor around the event itself is nothing short of magnificent.

But in all the excitement, it’s easy to forget that the contest itself revolves around the hot dog, that humble, All-American treat. Have you ever wondered how the sausage gets made? (Pun entirely intended.)

If you have, don’t fret! Gizmodo has an impressively comprehensive article on the process behind the processed meat.

The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (NHDSC) notes that hot dogs, whether regular, turkey, pork or beef, begin with “trimmings.” A purposely-vague word, trimmings come in lots of shapes and sizes.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): “The raw meat materials used for precooked-cooked products are lower-grade muscle trimmings, fatty tissues, head meat, animal feet, animal skin, blood, liver and other edible slaughter by-products.”

Yum!

Yum indeed! The rest of the steps—pre-cooking, meat emulsifying, batter extrusion, and casing—are similarly…gory. Bon appétit!

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