Eating out can totally ruin your diet. So, here are a few restaurant fat-traps to avoid. These tips are from Dr. Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating. And we found them in Self magazine:
- First, there’s romantic lighting. Studies show that people who eat in dim light are more likely to underestimate their calorie intake because they feel less self-conscious. So, don’t eat in the dark! Ask for another candle. And get a table instead of a secluded booth. If you’re out in the open, you’ll be more aware of the amount of food you eat.
- A fun, descriptive menu. The more interesting the food sounds, the more you’ll want to eat. I mean, who can resist “mesquite barbecue chicken wings with orange honey glaze.” The fix: Follow The Rule of Two. Scan the menu’s appetizer section, then order any 2 that you want. That way, you’ll feel indulged, but won’t overdo it.
- Familiar surroundings can also ruin your diet. In other words, if you always order “the usual” at your favorite haunt, you’re likely to eat more. A recent study found that people tend to eat more bread when they have butter instead of the more offbeat choice of olive oil. So, what’s the fix on this? Go somewhere entirely new. If you’re trying Indian food for the first time, you’ll eat less. Or if you go to your “regular” restaurant, order something you normally wouldn’t. The same rule applies: When something’s unfamiliar, we eat less.
- Background music. Studies show that loud, fast music pushes you to eat too fast and too much. And quiet melodies relax you, encouraging you to linger at the table and keep eating. The fix: When your meal arrives, decide exactly how much you intend to eat. And when you reach that point, ask for a “to-go” box. Even better, get half of your meal boxed up before you start eating.