Do you often go out to eat or order takeout? If the answer is yes, then here is something for you to think about: A typical three-course meal from a restaurant can contain as little as 1000 calories – which is more than half of your daily calories. A survey showed that average Americans tend to order take out or eat at a restaurant at least 5 times a week. No wonder, obesity is becoming a concerning issue in developed countries.
If you lead a busy lifestyle, it is completely understandable that you don’t always have the time to cook. It’s alright to enjoy restaurant meals as long as you know what you’re ordering and the impact of the meal on your waistline. Consumer behavior experts have closely observed the eating habits of restaurant lovers to determine why some people go overboard with their order and consume a day’s worth of calories in one sitting.
If you want to follow a more nutritious lifestyle in 2018, here is how you can enjoy a healthy meal at your favorite restaurant without causing damage to your waistline.
Start Your Buffet Meal with Fruit or Salad
With dozens of scrumptious food items laid out in unlimited quantities, buffets are the worst thing that could happen to your healthy-eating goals – but not all buffet options are unhealthy and starting your meal with something healthy such as fruits or a salad can trigger you to make responsible choices throughout the rest of the meal.
In 2013 researchers conducted an experiment where they split a hundred diners into two groups and asked one to put their cheese omelet item at the beginning of the bar and fruit at the end whereas the second group followed the reverse order.
71% of the people who saw the fruits first, piled the low-calorie option onto their plates whereas 76% of the customers at the other group of diners helped themselves with cheesy omelets as it was the first option at the bar.
Eat with Health-Conscious Friends
Your company at the dinner table will largely impact the way you eat and how many calories you consume in a sitting. Several studies have proven the psychological impacts of eating in large groups and how others can influence your food choices.
For example, if you’re brunching with a few of your gym pals who order salad as the first course of the meal, you’re also likely to follow suit and choose a healthy option from the menu.
Sit Close to the Window
Brian Wansink, a researcher from Cornell University gathered receipts from 27 different restaurants along their table types and locations.
What he discovered was that customers who sat at high-top tables ordered less desserts and more seafood options, whereas 80 per cent of the patrons who chose to sit next to a window ordered a salad for starter. Wansink believes that sitting in a location which exposes you to the public can put a certain pressure on you to make healthier eating choices.
Order A Large Glass of Water
When trying to make the right food choices at the restaurant, many of us underestimate the potential of drinking water to curb hunger. While you’re waiting for your food to arrive, sip on some H2O or unsweetened ice tea to help you feel less ravenous, and hence consume fewer calories.
Think About the Time it Would Take to Burn Off the Calories
Experts say that it would be extremely effective if restaurants mentioned the calories for each item on the menu, but diners would be even more motivated to make healthier choices if they viewed their meal in terms of the number of hours they would have to spend on the cardio machine to burn it off.
It roughly requires one mile of jogging for burning every hundred calories, so the next time you are tempted to reach for an extra 600-calorie slice of pizza, imagine yourself suffering on the treadmill for an hour to burn it off.