Eat Like a Food Psychologist: Brian Wansink

From how to trick yourself into eating less to the eating habits of skinny people, Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim By Design and director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, studies the fascinating choices people make about what and how much they eat for a living. So we thought we’d turn the tables and find out how the food psychologist fuels up on a typical day.

 
Breakfast: Smoothie

Breakfast: SmoothieNot one to stand still, the energetic Wansink makes a quick smoothie for breakfast before heading out the door to work. He’ll take a Naked Juice Green Machine drink and blend it with any leftover vegetables he can find in the fridge, including broccoli or green beans, along with chocolate-flavored protein powder. “The chocolate protein powder pretty much covers up any sort of flavor irregularities,” he said. “This is a functional meal — to be nutritious and to get me out of the house.”

 
Lunch: Hot protein and vegetables

Lunch: Hot protein and vegetablesWansink isn’t into snacking, and his work environment is designed to keep him away from any mindless eating. “I purposely don’t put myself in an environment where there is food,” he said. “Most of my writing is done in my basement where there is no food or in a library.” When lunchtime rolls around, Wansink always reaches for a hot protein — something filling and warm — with vegetables, such as a hamburger paired with a side salad or a burrito with meat and vegetables. His guilty pleasure and midday caffeine pick-me-up: A Diet Coke. “I don’t drink coffee, but I really like Diet Coke — it’s my coffee,” he said.

 
Dinner: Asian-spiced fish with vegetables

Dinner: Asian-spiced fish with vegetablesWansink’s wife, who attended the famous culinary institute Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, is a gourmet cook who prepares delicious dinners most nights. “She’s so outstanding,” he gushed. Okay, so most of us don’t have the know-how, time or inclination to whip up a gourmet meal every night, but the basics of Wansink’s typical dinner serve as good building blocks for a healthy meal: fish such as trout, salmon or bass with vegetables and a glass of wine. “Most of the time the fish has some sort of an Asian twist—it might be a French Vietnamese dish or a Thai spin,” he said. But post-dinner, you won’t catch Wansink spooning his way through a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. “I never have dessert unless we have company over,” he said. “And if we do, it’s fresh fruit.”

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