Are You a Grazer?

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Preparing your own meals at home is a great way to reduce portion size, fat and calories. But be careful of all the sampling and tasting that's so tempting to do while you're cooking. A taste of that fettuccine or a nibble on that loaf of fresh hot bread or a sample of that cookie batter may not seem like a big deal. But enough small bites can add up to a lot of calories. Stave off that hand-to-mouth reaction by constantly reminding yourself that there's no reason you need to have a bite here and a bite there. You can undo all of your honest diet efforts by snacking on your ingredients, so it's best to take action before hunger strikes. Have a small snack before you begin cooking - fruit and cheese, yogurt, a handful of nuts - anything that has a little protein will keep you from sampling. It's fun for foodies and gourmands to drink while preparing food, but not only does alcohol add more calories to your meal, but it also lowers your willpower and can cause those dreaded munchies. Chewing sugarless gum while cooking can help keep those morsels in the pot and out of your mouth, too. If you worked in a kitchen, would you constantly graze on your customers' meals? Put things into perspective so you'll be less likely to falter.