The family dinner table, a place where conversation about school, work, and life takes place (or at least it used to). Whatever the conversation the dinner table is a place where we find ourselves indulging in food to excess, both “healthy” and “unhealthy.” This isn’t an article on how to improve your dining habits via improved diet. No, this article is going to show you how to re-engineer, not the food you eat, but how you eat it.


Step 1: Skinny OVER Wide


Tall, skinny glasses appear to hold more liquid than short fat glasses…but they don’t! Often, they hold the same amount. However, studies have shown when bartenders are given two glasses, a tall, skinny one and a short, wide one, over pour into the short one by as much as 30%! (and these are “expert” pourers). Why? The short, wide glass doesn’t appear full until it’s near the top whereas a tall, skinny glass appears tapped sooner. This little change at the dinner table, tall/skinny over short/wide, will minimize calorie intake for beverages like beer, soda, and juice.


Step 2: Plates & Bowls


Similar to the glasses in step 1, bigger plates and bowls lead to bigger servings because of visual illusion. We see a great deal of surface area on our plate and that convinces us that we are not eating an adequate amount if we can still view the plate. Bowls work just as well. Think of the last time you went to grab some icecream from the freezer. You probably grabbed the biggest bowl you could find and helped yourself to several heaping spoonful’s of that delicious frozen treat. Using a smaller bowl will 1) limit the amount you can serve yourself, thus, saving on calories and 2) it’ll appear like you have more icecream than if you used a bigger bowl. Buffets have learned visual trick as well. In order to avoid food waste buffets began giving patrons smaller plates, bowls, and glasses. The result? Buffets save money on wasted food and guests save a few pounds on their waistline.


Step 3: Less Variety, Not More


Here me out. Variety is the spice of life. Having a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, meats, fish, etc. in your diet is a good thing. However, most of us aren’t gaining too much weight eating a moderate amount of these foods or their less nutritious cousins (i.e. fast food). The problem is when we over consume these foods because our taste buds are so excited! Variety leads to over indulgence. Too much variety causes our brains to increase our satiation point. I’m not advocating limiting the variety in your overall diet. However, limit the variety you put on your plate. Follow the rule of 2: no more than 2 differing food items on your plate at any given time. Want more? Go up and get more of 2 different foods. The little task of getting up again and knowing you’re choosing to eat more become 2 more obstacles to overcome before over indulging. Doesn’t sound like much of a deterrent but you’d be surprised how lazy we’ve become today.


Step 4: Extras Stay In The Kitchen!


Many cultures have a custom of preparing large portions of food and placing them on the dinner table for everyone grab at their leisure throughout the meal. Convenient? Yes. Healthy? Not so much. Avoid overeating by keeping the food away from the dinner table! Sure, the kitchen is only a few feet away but similar to step 3, the more distance you have to cover the less likely you’ll go for more. Better yet, take this a step further and put the food back in the oven or refrigerator.



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