Top Five Tips for Eating in Restaurants
The mean portion size in calories from a meal in a restaurant has increased by 77% in the last 50 years. The average dinner plate has increased in size from 25cm in diameter in the late 1970s, to up to 31cm today. So here are the top 5 tips to manage eating when you are out:
- Pick where you sit and what you wear. Sit in a quieter spot: People who sit in the more distracting parts of restaurants (by a window or in front of a TV) eat considerably more. Commotion makes it easy to lose track of how much you’re putting in your mouth. If you’re making a reservation, request a quiet table. If you walk in and are offered a table in a busier spot, ask for one away from the action. It’s worth the wait.
- If you are going to a buffet, the further away from the food you sit, the less you eat, if you sit with your back to the buffet you eat less and if you peruse the buffet and then pick your food, you eat less
- German researchers found that lowering the temperature of a dining room by 2-3 degrees boosted food consumption nearly 20%. The hormones that control your appetite are slower to kick in when the temperature drops. So make sure you wear a jumper
- Avoid the pre –dinner drink. Alcohol before a meal boosts short-term appetite and food consumption, finds a study from the University of Sussex. Researchers say alcohol may temporarily impair your body’s ability to feel full. So avoid the pre-dinner drink and if you are waiting for a table, sit on the chairs, not at the bar
- Avoid the extras. Here are some examples:
- Garlic Bread, nuts etc that may be on the table.
- Avoid sauces, gravies with meals.
- When you order, avoid the chips, ask for vegetables/salads. For example, you’ve decided to pick something light off the menu, but when your friend orders the decadent steak frites, you start to rethink your grilled salmon. To sidestep the temptation of your friend’s less healthy dish, place your order first
- On your salads, use vinaigrette not white sauces
- Practice portion control. Restaurants serve mountains of food—about two to three times the quantity that we need in a meal. Just don’t try to finish those mega-size portions. Consider sharing a meal or taking a doggie bag so that you can have a quick meal at a later time. Eat until you’re satisfied, not stuffed, and take the rest home. Eating slowly helps you recognize such cues. Keep an eye on the amount of food. For example:
- A serving of cooked meat, chicken, or fish is like the palm of your hand, or about the size of a deck of cards.
- A serving of green salad is like an open-cupped hand.
- A serving of fruit or vegetables is like your fist, or about the size of a tennis ball.
- A serve of cheese is like your middle and index fingers together, or about the size of four stacked dice.
- Try the 3 bite rule on dessert. Take three bites and then set it aside for a few minutes. You’re less likely to come back to it. You might even discover that those few bites of a great dessert can be very satisfying, and might be all you really wanted in the first place. You can’t possibly blow your diet big-time on three bites of anything.