Just when you thought your Sunday tradition of football, buffalo wings, and a pitcher of beer was safe, a new study out of Quinnipiac University in Connecticut finds that weekend eating can be detrimental to your weight –even if you eat healthy during the week.
The study looked at 600 individuals who filled out a 2-week survey about their eating habits. Scientists analyzed the data and found some interesting trends.
Skimp Now, Dine Later
One of the most unique findings was that we tend to “:make up” for missed or small meals by eating larger quantities later in the day. For example, if you have a small salad for lunch, unless you’re careful, you’ll find yourself in the buffet line for dinner. However, if you eat heavy at lunch, your body may not compensate at a later meal, thus piling on the extra calories as fat.
Or as study author J. Jeffrey Inman puts it: “Our results suggest you need to think between days, because if you have a big dinner last night, then those calories don’t disappear, they’re with you today,”
This phenomenon is particularly important for weekend eating as people tend to eat anywhere about 400 more calories on the weekend than during the week. Unless you mindfully cut back on Monday, your appetite isn’t going to naturally down shift to make up for that giant piece of chocolate cake from Friday night.
Don’t Let Saturday Night Be “Faturday” Night
Believe it or not, but it’s possible to indulge a bit on the weekend without paying for it later. Here’s how.
Cook: Now that you have a bit of extra time on your hands, why not spend it having some fun in the kitchen? If your traditional weekend dinner out has gotten stale, instead of trying that new pizza place, try making a new dish at home. It’s more fun and leagues healthier than restaurants fare.
Doggie Bag It: Want to cut your calories in half and still let loose on the same weekend meal you love? Eat half, and save the other half for later. Not only will this limit the damage, but you get to enjoy the meal twice.
Cut Creams: Creams and sauces are absolute calorie bombs. In fact, for some dishes, the calories in the sauce outweigh the calories in the rest of the dish!
It’s best to either ask for no sauce at all, or on the side.
Limit Liquid Calories: Although they tend to be ignored, calories from drinks like beer and wine definitely count. However, the worst calorie culprits are mixed drinks like fancy martinis and gin and tonics. They basically add sugary syrup or mixes to what’s already a fattening drink.
It’s OK to imbibe now and again, but definitely shoot for red wine or light beer when you do.
Cooking Method: It’s not always the dish itself, but how it’s cooked that makes all the difference. By asking for a dish to be grilled or baked instead of fried, you can sometimes hack off 25% of the calories.