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Family Style Is Making You Fat Without You Even Knowing

Family Style Is Making You Fat Without You Even Knowing

Have you ever noticed how much you over-indulge when you’re having dinner with a friend? Maybe you’re so enthralled in catching up that you don’t realize you’ve gone through two baskets of bread or chips before you’ve even ordered. It may make you feel a little guilty, and bloated, but it shouldn’t make you feel strange; when we eat with other people, we consume about 44% more food than we do when eating alone.

A study by de Castro discovered who we eat with directly impacts how we eat, and our level of indulgence. And it’s not just friends or acquaintances. Meals with spouses and family lead us to eat around 22% and 23% more, respectively.[1] To put that into perspective, the average amount we’re referring to is about 91.7% of the food we put on our plates, according to a study out of the Columbia University’s Food and Brand Lab in New York City.[2]

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A study in the journal Obesity found when food is served from the dinner table, people consume 35% more over the course of a meal. It speaks to our desire to do as little as possible – when an additional helping requires leaving the table, people hesitate to go back for more. So when food is served family style, it’s all too easy to over-eat.

Family style starts out with good intentions

When you prepare a meal for a group of people, you fix more food to make sure there is enough for everyone. You put the food in bowls and on platters so people can reach it easily. While it’s nice to have things close-by, and the action of passing bowls from person to person can feel intimate and familial, the large serving plates moving around the table create peer pressure. No one wants to see left-overs on the plates because it seem to be a waste not to finish them all.

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Family style dishes also try to fit the taste of family members in general, so in order to cover the basic items people like, you wind up with an excess of meat and carbs. Even if you refuse seconds, you’re automatically going to be eating more food than you need. So how to turn things around?

Plan more, serve less

Think about the last time you were bored. What did you do, instinctively? Chances are, you found something to snack on. When you don’t plan meals ahead of time and only make as much as you need, you tend to reach for more to avoid a lull in conversation. According to International Journal of Obesity, a little planning prior to eating can help control portions by determining the amount of food you eat before you get hungry.

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If you know you have a habit of reaching for seconds, or even thirds, begin by putting less on your plate than you think you need. This allows you to opt for seconds without eating more than you would’ve otherwise, but still feeling comfortable because you don’t have to say no to the food you’re feeling pressured to eat.

Whether you’re eating with friends in a restaurant that keeps bringing you bread or chips, or eating with your in-laws at a big table full of food, think ahead and take less than you think you need. Take your time eating, too. If you’re more aware of the amount you’re ingesting, and not just caught up in conversation, you’ll be less likely to over-indulge and still be able to enjoy your company.

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Featured photo credit: Kaboompics via kaboompics.com

Reference

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Samantha Aloysius

Samantha is an everyday health expert with a background in International Public Health and Psychology.

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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

What Should I Do Today? 30 New Things To Do Today

What Should I Do Today? 30 New Things To Do Today

It’s always fun to do something new, but often we fall into the trap of spending our weekends the same way.

If you’re stuck in the same old routine, it might be time to try something new.

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What should I do today? No ideas?

Everything listed here is something you can easily do no matter where you live, and even on a tight budget! Try out one of these 30 new things today, you’ll be happy you did.

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Try Out These 30 New Things To Do Today

  1. Visit a suburb in your city that you’ve never been to before, or somewhere you haven’t explored much.
  2. Learn ten phrases in a new language–what about Japanese, Italian or Portuguese?
  3. Listen to a genre of music you haven’t tried before–perhaps Jazz, Punk or Blues?
  4. Have a picnic in your local park complete with a packed lunch and your animal friends.
  5. Start a daily journal to write your thoughts in.
  6. Try a new cuisine–what about French, Lebanese or Korean?
  7. Visit your local library and borrow some books for the weekend.
  8. Plant some flowers in your garden. If you don’t have one, try an indoor potted plant.
  9. Visit a local museum or art gallery and view their latest exhibition.
  10. Learn a new skill–what about sewing, gardening or cooking? You’ll be surprised what you can learn in an afternoon.
  11. Say hello to a neighbor you don’t usually talk to.
  12. Make a card for a friend and send it to them with a handwritten note.
  13. Learn how to cook a new dish for dinner. We all get tired of eating the same thing, why not try making something new?
  14. Re-read an old favorite book. Don’t leave it gathering dust on your book shelf; get it out and read it all over again.
  15. Research the culture of a different country online–what about India, Guatemala or Sweden?
  16. Go for a walk or bicycle ride around your neighborhood.
  17. Watch a classic film like Casablanca, The Godfather or The Wizard of Oz.
  18. Make a photo album of a recent holiday you took. Don’t let your memories get lost on your computer hard drive; make a special keepsake album of your trip.
  19. Visit your local farmers markets and pick out some fresh produce. Farmers markets are full of delicious fresh fruit, veggies and more. Find your local market and take a visit.
  20. Plan a day trip to somewhere outside your city–it might be the seaside, mountains or another city!
  21. Check out what community events are running in your area and attend one.
  22. Make a birthday present for a friend. Handmade gifts are personal and much more special than anything you could buy from a store.
  23. Attend a play at your local theater. Support your local theater and have a fun night out at the same time.
  24. Volunteer with your local nature conservation society to plant some trees. Conservation societies are always looking for helping hands; do your bit and plant some trees.
  25. Be a tourist in your own city and visit all the popular tourist sites you’ve likely never been to (don’t forget your camera!)
  26. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to recently and have a good long chat.
  27. Put on your favorite song and dance your heart out. You might be surprised at how much fun you have!
  28. Invite some friends over for a BBQ. There’s nothing better than an afternoon spent with good friends and good food.
  29. Try out a new form of exercise like Pilates, tennis or swimming.
  30. Organize a clothing swap with your friends. You’ll have a great time, and save some cash and the environment all at the same time!

Now that you’ve read my list of 30 new things to try today, my question for you is, “what new things will you try today?”

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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