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Posts Tagged ‘restaurant meals’

A waiter with two plates of food
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Let’s face it, it’s really nice to eat out sometimes. You don’t have to prepare food or do the dishes, and can order what you want. However, eating out can leave a large footprint on the environment, depending on what you order, how its served, and what you do with leftovers. Food waste, single use items, and resource intense foods contribute to pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is that you can eat out more sustainably by making some small changes. Here are some easy tips that you can do when eating out to help the environment:

  • Choose more plant based foods, smaller portions of meat and fried foods. Plant based and fresh foods are usually less resource intense to produce. Guess what? They’re healthier too!
  • Refuse single use straws, utensils, cups, and bags. Bring your own reusable ones.
  • Take home leftovers. Food waste contributes to pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as it rots in landfills. Bring reusable plastic containers to use as a doggy bag for example.
  • Compost or recycle unsoiled paper products such as pizza lids, bags and boxes.
  • Choose restaurants that you feel are ethical and sustainable. You might have to do a little bit of research. Find out if they support your values. Do they pay workers a livable wage, do they source locally, do they offer healthier and sustainable menu items?
  • In general, try to eat out less often. When you eat out, there is also a chance you are leaving food at home to spoil.

Behavior change is hard, so try not to do too many things all at once. Consider setting some small goals. Small goals can lead to big impacts collectively and over the course of time. Think of all the plastic straws you would save from landfills by refusing them over the rest of your life. Choose goals that are really simple and attainable. For example, make a box of reusable items that you could use at restaurant and place in your car. If you go out to lunch 3 days a week, consider cutting back to one day a week.

Author: Dan Remley, PhD, MSPH, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

Reviewed by: Jessica Lowe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, lowe.495@osu.edu

Sources:

Lobb, Jenny. (2022). Starting the Year with a SMART goal. Retrieved at https://wordpress.com/post/livehealthyosu.com/12600

Sabate, Joan. (2014). Sustainability of Plant-based Diets: Back to the Future. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/100/suppl_1/476S/4576675.

United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.) Food waste and It’s links to Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2022/01/24/food-waste-and-its-links-greenhouse-gases-and-climate-change.

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Did you know restaurants follow some tricks to encourage you to eat more?  Accasian-1239311__180ording to Deborah Cohen, a physician and senior natural scientist at the RAND Corporation , a nonprofit research organization, restaurants follow these advertising tricks to get us to order and eat more.

  • They serve us bigger servings. When we see food, we usually eat all of it even if we are not hungry for that size portion.
  • We do not tend to rely on how much we have eaten during the day, or how hungry we are, when deciding quantities later in the day.
  • Combo meals portray a better value and are easy to order.  But just two items would be satisfying to many people, if they knew they could save money and calories.menu-512197_960_720
  • The “sweet spot” on the menu is in the upper right-hand corner.  More people choose items in that area of the menu.  Restaurants also know we are likely to choose items that appear first or last in a section of the menu.  Highlighted or boxed items are also chosen more often.
  • The more people you eat with, the more food you are likely to consume.
  • We tend to mimic the people we are with, it seems to be part of socializing or fitting in.
  • The more variety the more we are likely to eat. One study gave people only one type of pasta and another group three different types of pasta.  All of the pasta cookie-1125527_960_720tasted the same.  However, the group getting the three different types of pasta ate more than the one getting only one type.   The same thing happens with cookies, crackers or snack foods.
  • Showing you the desserts will get you to order dessert more often.

Will knowing this information influence our choices or actions the next time we eat out?  With restaurant meals usually 2-3 times what we should be eating remembering the tips above could help us to reduce the calories we eat at restaurants.  Since most of us eat out often, is it any wonder our society gains weight each year?

I am going to start looking at the whole menu carefully, limit combo meals, and cut portions in half putting the rest in a box for home before I start eating. What strategies are you going to use?

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University

Reviewer:  Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension

References:

Cohen, D. (2016) It’s Hard to Eat Less When There is Too Much on Your Plate.  RAND Corporation. Available at http://www.rand.org/blog/2016/02/its-hard-to-eat-less-w hen-there-is-too-much-on-your.html

Liebman, B. (2016).  Under the Radar What made you buy (and eat) that.  Interview with Deborah Cohen, Author of A Big Fat Crisis: The Hidden Influences Behind the Obesity Epidemic – and How We Can End It (new York: Nation Books).  Nutrition Action Health Letter, Center for Science in the Public Interest March 2016. 43(2) 1,3-5.

 

 

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