Several research studies have found that people tend to eat less when they know how many calories are in their food. While dining out can be part of a healthy lifestyle, consuming just 100 calories more than what you think every day can tip the scales and derail your energy balance, causing weight gain over time.
Several research studies have found that people tend to eat less when they know how many calories are in their food. Other studies have found that people tend to underestimate the amount of calories that are in their restaurant meals. While dining out can be part of a healthy lifestyle, consuming just 100 calories more than what you think every day can tip the scales and derail your energy balance, causing weight gain over time.
A new study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity looked at three different groups of restaurant diners who received 1) a standard menu without calorie information, 2) a menu showing each item’s calorie count and 3) a menu featuring traffic light symbols representing a range of calorie counts*.
By the end of the meal, the diners who ordered off the standard menu consumed an average of 817 calories, whereas those who ordered from the menu showing calories consumed an average of 765 calories. Diners who ordered from the menu with the traffic light symbols consumed an average of 696 calories.
Although the difference may seem small (52 calories and 121 calories between the standard and the two other menus), this reduction can add up over time. For successful, sustainable weight loss, try to incorporate healthy habits in your lifestyle and aim for weight loss of one to two pounds per week.
Try these Healthy Dining menu options, which are all under 770 calories and are great options to help with long-term, sustainable weight loss or maintenance:
Turkey and Provolone Sub, 6 inch on wheat bread from BLIMPIE
(410 calories, 14 g fat)
Baby Spinach with Chicken Salad from The Quick Fixx
(220 calories, 7 g fat)
Located in Philadelphia, PA
Gruben from Zoë's Kitchen
(460 calories, 17 g fat)
Locations in AL, AZ, FL, LA, SC, TN, and TX
Cedar Plank Salmon from Shelby Campbell's Almost Famous
(490 calories, 21 g fat)
Located in IL
Mix and Match: Chicken and Shrimp Sizzling Platter from Chevy's Fresh Mex
(410 calories, 17 g fat)
Located in AZ, CA, FL, IL, MD, MN, NJ, NV, NY, OR, VA, and WA
*green light represented <400 calories, yellow light represented 401 to 800 calories, and red light represented >800 calories.