Is your family dinner a rush, or even worse, eaten in the car after buzzing through a fast food drivethru?
With the hustle and bustle of back-to-school activities, it can be hard to find time to savor a meal together.
Sporting activities like football or soccer -- or in my case it was dance class, choir and school play practice -- are keeping many families eating in shifts or in the family SUV.
Perhaps it is time to set the mood for food.
As reported on NewYorkTimes.com, the amount we eat and how fast we eat it could be affected by the meal’s atmosphere. A recent study published in the journal entitled Psychological Reports was the subject of the article.
Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology set the table in a special room at an Illinois Hardee's restaurant with “indirect lighting, soft music, white tablecloths, even candles on the tables. The room was soundproofed, isolated from the loud music and bright lights of the adjoining standard interior.”
The menu however was the traditional Hardee's menu. The article stated that customers were seated at random in the special room and the regular dining area.
The findings were that the duration of the meals in the special room was longer, yet patrons consumed nearly 175 less calories.
From a health expert perspective, it is important to eat proactively. By that I mean, know what you are going to eat before you go into a restaurant, as well as how much. Have a plan in place to combat the urge to overeat.
That plan could include having a side salad first to eat less of the bad stuff or cut your meal into portions and plan on taking part of it home with you. A term often used in the nutrition community is “mindful eating.”
Mindless eating expert, Brian Wansink, Ph.D., and director of Cornell's Food and Brand Lab, told HuffingtonPost.com, "This is important information for fast-food restaurants, which are often accused of contributing to obesity: Making simple changes away from brighter lights and sound-reflecting surfaces can go a long way toward reducing overeating -- and increase their customers' satisfaction at the same time."