We eat with our eyes more than you may realize. In fact, we are easily coaxed into eating more than we want—or need—by the size of our plate, the bulk of a box or who we’re with. Food psychologist Brian Wansink describes this in his entertaining book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (Bantam Dell, 2006). Based on his studies, here are ways these invisible cues may impact you:
- You’re likely to eat 53 percent more popcorn from a big bucket than a medium one.
- When dishing up ice cream, you may eat 57 percent more if you use a large bowl and scoop compared to smaller ones.
- If you grab a low-fat snack instead of a regular version, you’ll eat up to 50 percent more.
- You may consume 75 percent more calories if you eat with four people compared to dining alone.
—Janet Helm, a registered dietitian in Chicago