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How To Prevent Overeating at Restaurants

Stop stuffing yourself silly
You know how it goes. You’re hunkered over a plate of cheese fries—which just happened to be on special at your favorite restaurant—feeling more than a little guilty. Though you came to the restaurant with good intentions and this may seem like a case of wavering willpower, it’s not. Turns out that restaurants trick you into overeating, finds new research in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. We don’t think that’s fair, so we’re arming you with trade secrets on how to keep from overeating when eating out.

Order first
Chances are, if your friend’s order sounds better than yours (a bacon burger trumps steamed salmon), you’re going to rethink your dinner. To sidestep temptation, place your order first. If you can’t order first, then make your decision, close the menu, and repeat your selection to yourself to help you stick to it.

Turn down the tunes
A study from Cornell University’s food lab found that people eating in an environment with dim lighting and soft music consumed 200 fewer calories—or roughly 18% less food—than those who ate in a loud, brightly lit room. Ask the waiter to turn down the music; your waistline will thank you.

Don’t watch the game while eating
Watching TV distracts people while dining, which can lead to a bump in the amount of food you consume, finds a University of Minnesota study.

Button up
German researchers found that lowering the temperature of a dining room by 10 degrees boosted food consumption nearly 20%. Apparently when the temperature drops, the hormones that control your appetite take a while to kick in. So if you’re headed out, bring a sweater.

Shield your eyes
Sure, you might feel a little silly wearing sunglasses inside, but bright colors such as red and orange excite your senses and may boost the amount of food you eat by 25% or more, according to a Boston University study.


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