Ah, new relationship bliss. Spending every moment together, not getting enough of each other, and…never eating a meal alone. Studies have shown that 70% of women, when content with their relationship, were less apprehensive about their weight and appearance. A new relationship typically also means a lot of eating a lot of romantic meals out, which can mean huge portions. Remember the last time you went to Maggiano’s and had to be practically rolled out of the restaurant? It is obvious portion sizes have changed in America throughout the years. It is also common knowledge, and many studies have shown, that you are likely to eat more if you have a large portion placed in front of you, regardless of your gender.
So how do you avoid the post-meal pants-button-popping? Here are a few suggestions:
- Although it may be a treat to dine out with your boyfriend or spouse, avoid starving yourself because you are going somewhere delicious for dinner. When you show up starving, you are more likely to eat every last morsel of your entrée. Instead, eat something small, like an apple or carrots before heading out on a date night.
- Skip the bread and butter. Although the scent of it may allure you, this bread is typically some kind of refined white bread, and heaped with butter it is even worse. Remember back in the day when you would “coat your stomach with bread” before a night out on town to help soak up the booze? Well the same sort of logic works with pre-dinner bread, as it coats your stomach and makes you lose your sense of fullness.
- If you know your meal will be massive and your will power is low, have the server wrap up half in a doggy bag. Nervous? Just tell them you promised you would split it with your family member!
- Eat slowly! It is tempting to shovel the food in, especially when it is tasty, but chew more and take breaks by putting your fork down between bites.
- When eating, stop for a few minutes when you hit the halfway point. This is very difficult and can take a lot of will power, but drink a glass of water and check your hunger status. If you are full, which you most likely would be, either push the plate away, ask the server to wrap it up, or, if you know you may keep poking at it, cover it in something that would make you stop eating it, like loads of pepper, salt or sugar packets.
- Many tapas places offer smaller plates that are ideal for romantic sharing; try Cafe Ba Ba Reeba on Halsted or Emilio’s in Hillside or on Ohio Street in Chicago.
- Does your steak come with a side of mashed potatoes? Though you cannot beat the mixture of potatoes and steak, try getting steamed vegetables instead. Also, aim for the smaller filet rather than the NY Strip, as it is typically a much smaller portion.
- Head to places with notoriously smaller (in reality perfectly portioned) places in Chicago. We love Spring, on North Avenue, and Hub 51 on West Hubbard, which are both unique in their healthy-sized, fresh and tasty dishes.