Gentlemen, did you know brown-bagging your lunch could be good for your waistline? In a large European study of 24,310 men and women, restaurant eating was positively associated with BMI, but only for men. No association was found between BMI and workplace eating for either gender.
Weight gain was assessed among those eating and drinking in restaurants versus bringing a lunch to work. The study relied predominantly on self-reported heights and weights, and the dietary recall may have resulted in under reporting of total food intake.
1. Beware of the “health halo.” Eating Subway does not mean you are eating healthy. One study found diners consumed less calories at McDonald’s than Subway. Why? They ordered more sides. Also, don’t be fooled by words like “organic.” Healthy choices have calories, too.
2. Beware of large portions. Restaurant portions are notoriously large, and you need to be aware of this fact. Furthermore, research has shown time and time again that the larger the portion, the more we end up eating. Though we know it’s hard, guys, splitting the portion size in half is probably the smartest way to eat out. Rather than be tempted to overeat at the restaurant, ask for the take-out container at the same time that you order your meal.
3. Beware of appetizers. You ordered a meal. The meal you ordered probably has all the calories you need. No need to preload your calories with an appetizer. Also, have them hold the premeal bread.
4. Beware of the surprise lunch. Many restaurants post menus on their websites (and some chains even provide nutrition information, too.) If you’re worried about temptation taking over when you sit down to eat, try looking at the menu online before you arrive at the restaurant — and when you’re not hungry — and select what you want to order in advance.
Finally, many people don’t bring their lunch because they like taking a much-needed break from work. Next time, go for a walk.
The best part about bringing your lunch to work is both your waistline and your wallet with thank you.