I don’t know about you, but as I’ve gotten older, the best way I’ve found to get out the house is to make dinner plans with friends. Not only is this more exciting than sitting in the house, it relieves me of the sometimes necessary evil of cooking and cleaning. I’m more of just a cooker, if you catch my drift. Nevertheless, eating out can be quite the challenge when you are trying to watch your girlish figure. The menu is always full of fancy jargon, but nothing that says “Pick me I won’t stick to your hips, thighs, and belly!” There are always so many tempting things like fried foods, desserts, and buttery biscuits and rolls.
Researchers have found that people typically eat more food when dining out with a group, and the larger the group the more food. Apparently eating with just 1 other person can increase your consumption by 28% over eating alone, and people tend to order like the others in their dining party. So to curb this negative food eating frenzy, I have come up with a new concept to try.
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In order for me to dine out without getting a side order of regret, I’ve decided to try going to dinner with a like-minded friend. I figured that hearing my friends choose healthy, lower-calorie options would make me feel peer-pressured into wanting to do the same thing.
Brenna Ellison, University of Illinois food economist says “people are happier with their food choices if they were similar to what everyone else is eating-even if they weren’t exactly psyched to order a salad or healthy entree in the first place.”
My conclusion is healthy friends lead to healthy dinners.
Here are four other ways to put some order back into your ordering:
1. Decide Before You Dine
Most restaurants have their menus online. Try and pick out the best options for your future dinner meal beforehand, particularly when you have no appetite. If you are hungry while making this decision, it may affect your choice.
2. Order First
Nobody wants to be the “loser” to order grilled veggies with brown rice after everyone else has ordered creamy, over-the-top pastas and steaks. Take initiative to sort of set the tone of the meal .
3. Be Aware of Portions
Restaurant portions tend to be much larger than what you would eat at home. To-go boxes are your friends, so utilize them! If you find yourself getting full, don’t feel obligated to eat it all in one sitting. The bonus here is you won’t be overstuffed – and you’ll have a meal for the next day.
4. Reject Refills
Refills. They are good for your wallet, but not good for those thighs, that belly and that butt. According to a recent study, people ate 73 percent more food when offered a free refill. As much as those complimentary baskets of bread, drinks, etc. are nice, a polite “no thanks!” is the healthier way to go!