Many people make food-related New Year’s resolutions, whether it’s simply to eat healthier or to lose weight, food is one of the top resolution subjects. Today I’m sharing a tip that may help with those by making a change in how you eat meals, not what you eat (although what you choose to eat is also very important).
If you come to dinner at my house, it’s likely that you’ll dish up your food in my kitchen before heading to the dining room. We’ll only occasionally serve at the table when we have company, but we never serve from the table when it’s just the two of us.
Why do the pans, pots, holders of food stay in the kitchen? Partially out of
laziness efficiency and partially out of health consciousness.
When you serve up your plate the first time, you pick a portion and typically it’s the portion you believe you should eat and not smaller. When the pan or serving dish is right there in front of you, it’s nearly unconscious to dish out more. Have you ever sat at a table with a group of friends or family and there’s a tray of vegetables, plate of cheese of batch of cookies near you? Chances are you’ll grab one… or four while socializing. If those items aren’t in arm’s reach, it becomes a conscious choice to eat something and whether you still choose to eat it, it’s better to be conscious.
Forced Body Listening
I’m broken so this isn’t 100% my situation, but for “normal” people there is a delayed reaction to being full and feeling full. It takes longer to get up and go get another helping of something, giving your body more of a chance to feel full.
Higher Quality Leftovers
I only feel like food served from the kitchen makes for higher quality leftovers. I think this because if the food doesn’t sit in the middle of the table getting reached over, talked across and heaven-forbid coughed on (gross right?) you won’t be taking germs for lunch the next day*. There’s also less of a chance that items will get dropped into others or spoons will get crossed, or that someone will used their own dirty utensils to serve it.
*If someone coughs/sneezes on a dish of food, I choose not to save it for leftovers
Easier Clean Up
It’s easier to put away food and dishes in the kitchen if they never left the kitchen. It’s faster to clean up because you don’t have to carry a bunch of stuff in from the dining area. You also don’t have the pressure to move things from the pans they were cooked in to fancy serving dishes. And spills or splatters? They happened in the kitchen during cooking and will happen during serving, might as well to keep the two in the same place.
Seriously though, food is served in our kitchen for the purpose of healthy eating, the clean up is just a bonus. I feel that by having to carry your food from one room to the next and get up from your chair for seconds forces you to be more mindful of what, and how much, you’re putting into your body. Even if you have an eat-in kitchen or open-floor plan, I believe this is helpful because you still have to remove yourself from the table to serve.
If you try serving buffet-style at your next gathering, let me know if it helps or offers any other benefits for you.
Do you typically serve food “family” style or buffet style?
Since I only ever cook for myself, I’m only ever making just enough for me anyway, haha!
We do the same!
This is a great strategy, Rachel. Portion control is a problem for many of us. By portioning out a reasonable serving, we can train our mind to understand that it is sufficient. Great post!