Create a Diet-Friendly Dining Room
Where you eat a meal plays a surprising role in whether or not you'll overeat. In a recent Cornell University study, half of the diners at a Hardee's restaurant were randomly selected to eat in a temporary fine-dining area, while the rest ate in the regular fast-food setting. The results: Diners in the nicer room ate roughly 133 fewer calories, spent nearly 5% more time eating, and rated the food quality 1.5 points higher on a 10-point scale, despite the fact that both groups had the same menu choices. You can mimic these healthy effects by creating a sacred place for eating, says Junelle Lupiani, RD, a weight management specialist at Miraval Resort and Spa in Tucson. Here's how. (For faster weight loss results, follow The Best 25 Diet Tips, Ever.)
DIM THE LIGHTS
The researchers dimmed their pop-up dining room using curtains and provided lighting with candles and soft lights. "When there is low lighting, people tend to linger over their food longer," says Kelly Grant, RD, a nutritionist at Canyon Ranch health resort in Tucson.
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ADD SOME GREEN
At spas, dining areas often overlook gardens. At home, set an indoor mini-herb or microgreens garden in view of the table to encourage thoughtful eating. As you dig into your salad, visualize the process of food growing, maturing, and finally arriving at your table, Grant suggests.
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PLAY SLOW TUNES
Make Michael Buble your dinner date. "We played soft jazz in the background," says study coauthor Koert Van ittersum. "This may have helped people relax and slow down their pace." Play something soothing at a low volume. At the end of every song, to prevent overindulging, evaluate how full you feel.
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—Hannah Woit, Prevention
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