Common sense tells us that hunger is the body's signal that we should eat. But some experts believe we should be eating before hunger can strike.

The rationale: when we are hungry, we are more likely to overeat. If we're also feeling sleepy or weak, we may also tend to eat the wrong kinds of food - caffeinated or sugary foods that will give us a burst of energy, but only briefly.

Eating proactively rather than reacting to our body's need can, theoretically, give us the opportunity to keep our bodies fueled so that hunger, fatigue, crankiness or other feelings don't get in the way of our going about our business.

Unconscious eating tends to lead to increased calorie consumption. Set aside specific time to eat your meals without reading a book or magazine, watching tv or working on the computer. This way you will savor and appreciate your foods, and also know when you have reached a healthy level of satiety - meaning you stop eating before you are stuffed.

Now that's food for thought.