Healthy Eating

Nutrition Challenge for Week 11: How to Handle “BLTs”

By this point in the Nutrition Challenge you’ve probably heard me talk about “BLTs” a few times. It’s not a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich — it stands for Bites, Licks and Tastes. This refers to eating a little nibble of anything that isn’t part of your meal plan that you created during Challenge 7.

A Cornell University study found that most people wouldn’t have a clue if we ate an extra 300 calories in a day. Lab director Brian Wansink said in his best-selling book Mindless Eating that people who are overweight tend to underestimate caloric intake by 30-40%!

If you’ve hit a fat loss plateau, BLTs could easily be the culprit — I’ve seen them add up to 300 calories a day or more in people’s diets. Here’s an example:

  • A few bites of cereal out of the bag as you pass by – 40 calories
  • 2 Hershey kisses from the jar on your coworker’s desk – 50 calories
  • Licking peanut butter off the knife when you make your kids’ lunch – 35 calories
  • Bites of dinner as you make it – 75 calories
  • The rest of your kids’ dinner that you just can’t bear to throw away – 75 calories
  • An after dinner candy because you have to end with something sweet – 25 calories

300 calories a day extra might not sound like much, but that adds up to 2,100 EXTRA calories over the course of a week, which is almost a full pound (3,500 extra calories = 1 pound). So this is either weight gain, or fat you could be losing but aren’t.

Challenge Week #11

Your challenge this week is to go four days without any BLTs at all. I’m only asking you to do this for four days because this is really hard! And if you mess up one day I want you to be able to just try again the next day.

Now, avoiding BLTs isn’t the same as choosing to have a sliver of cake to satisfy a craving, instead of having a whole piece. Sometimes that’s exactly the right thing to do. We’re talking about the tendency to peck at food throughout the day. If there’s a certain temptation you just can’t resist, see if you can find a way to include it in your meal plan or have it for your cheat meal.

Tips for Avoiding BLTs

BLTs are HARD to avoid, but even just being aware of the habit will help you start to curb calories. Here are some strategies that might help you limit BLTs:

  • Tie a ribbon around your wrist or finger that reminds you whenever you look down at your hand not to have BLTs.
  • Keep paper towels on the counter in arm’s reach so you can quickly wipe food off the spoons and knives you’re cooking with so you aren’t tempted to lick!
  • Use Post-Its and post your goals and even the words “NO BLTS” everywhere you look.
  • Make a sign above the sink that says “WASH ME” reminding you to hurry and rinse off your dishes and utensils before licking them clean!
Track Your Results

See if avoiding BLTs helps you…

  • Stick to the meal plan you made in Week 7
  • Feel confident in your ability to achieve your goals
  • Change your cravings: did you feel deprived or perfectly OK about skipping bites of foods that crossed your path?

P.S. You can avoid the munchies by keeping hunger in check. IdealShake and IdealBars are a low-calorie, sweet and delicious way to stay satisfied!


Lindsey Mathews

Lindsey Mathews

Head Trainer

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