5 Tips to combat the See Food Diet

out of sight, out of your mouth

Did we really need a study, or many studies, to tell us that we eat what we see?  And that the more food we see, the more we eat?  Well, someone did do those studies, to validate what we all knew.  Isn’t it nice to know you’re right?  Anyway, a new review of previous studies agreed that large portion sizes are a major contributor to our obesity epidemic.  If you’re served a big plate of food, you feel compelled to eat it all, or at least most of it.  This is especially likely to happen at restaurants.  Restaurants attract customers with the perception of value: lots of cheap food.  It’s easy to pile a bunch of cheap french fries on the plate, and it’s just as easy to cook a giant hamburger as a smaller one.

We eat with our eyes.  I do it, you do it.  And it’s hard to resist.  If someone leaves a plate of cookies or a bowl of chips out, it’s extremely difficult not to pick at them.  Put them away in the pantry, shut the door, and you forget about them.  And if restaurants served smaller portions, you’d eat less.  One restaurant is daring to do that.  Moe’s Southwest Grill serves up giant burritos, something like Chipotle.  But Moe’s listened to customers who loved the burritos’ flavor, but hated the excess portion size.  They wanted a smaller option.  Vôila, Moe’s offered a half portion.  Customers were happy.  The customers who wanted giant burritos were happy; the customers who didn’t want to eat so much or waste food were happy.

This is not hard to do and not a big deal.  The mystery is why more restaurants don’t offer smaller portions.  Subway does it, although Subway calls it 6 inch and 12 inch.  But it’s the same concept.  Subway doesn’t force you to overeat by forcing you to order too much food.

Big portions, whatever the food may be, cause excess calorie intake.  And weight comes down to excess calories, regardless of whether you overeat granola, potato chips, whole grains bread, doughnuts, Twinkies or organic soy milk.  What can you do?

  1. even if a restaurant doesn’t advertise half-size portions, ask for one.
  2. use smaller plates, bowls and glasses at home
  3. do not leave food sitting out in view.  Not at home, not at work, not anywhere.  Especially true during the holidays, when cookies and candy are everywhere.
  4. don’t leave serving dishes on the table, easy to pick at or have second helpings.  Well only if it’s vegetables.
  5. if someone (a family member, a host, an evil twin) keeps urging you to eat more, just say “No Thanks, I’m Full.”


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