I’ll admit it; I am a huge sucker for deals and saving money. Sometimes I take advantage of spectacular sale prices of items I need and other times, the sheer sale itself provokes me to go shopping. For example, I recently went on a shopping trip to Kohl’s. Did I need anything? Not necessarily, but I had a 30% off coupon and $10 worth of Kohl’s cash that I knew could be put to good use! Sales and deals like this can not only entice us to spend money on clothes, household products and electronics, it can also influence one’s eating habits and food selections.
One deal that always grabs people’s attention is the word FREE. When something is free, we almost feel compelled to give in to the deal as if we would be wasting it if we didn’t take advantage of it. Baker’s Square is now featuring their free pie special. Every Wednesday, customers may enjoy a free piece of pie with an approved menu item purchase. While this deal may be great on one’s wallet, it may not be so nice on the waistline. According to their website, one slice of their French silk pie ranks in at 650 calories. This is more calories than what most people need for an entire meal. The lemon meringue slice may seem like a lighter fare coming in at 430 calories; however it contains nearly 72 grams of carbohydrates. For diabetics, this slice of pie would most likely cause their post-meal blood sugars to rise higher than normal.
Other restaurant deals that frequently occur are the “endless” or “unlimited” promotions such as the unlimited stack of pancakes, never-ending pasta bowls and bottomless amount of fries.
Just like when people dine out at a buffet, the whole “I need to get my money’s worth of food” phenomena kicks in. Ask yourself, “Do I really need 2 bowls of pasta or 10 pancakes?” Unfortunately, most of these items are very carb-rich foods. For individuals with diabetes or even pre-diabetes, controlling one’s carbohydrate intake is of high importance for healthier eating habits and better blood sugar control. A stack of 3 pancakes with 2 Tbsp. of syrup at IHOP contains 96 grams of carbohydrates. For some women, this is the amount equivalent to 2-3 meals’ worth of carbohydrates.
We are powerfully influenced by our environment, especially when it comes to how much food we eat. For example, eating with more people has shown to increase the amount of calories one consumes at their meal. When eating alone, we typically stop eating when we are full and get up from the table. However, when eating with a crowd, one often sits and lingers after they are finished eating. The longer one sits around the food, the more likely they are to continue to nibble and drink. Earlier this year, the family had gone out to eat for my mother-in-law’s birthday. It was a delicious meal and I was full at the end of it. Because it was her birthday, she was eligible for a free dessert, which happened to be an ice cream cake. When the waitress brought out the cake with 6 serving spoons, I threw my internal cues of hunger out the window and dug in with everyone else. And sadly, I became yet another victim to overeating.
Restaurant promotions on free food or large portions may seem appetizing, especially on the wallet; but, consider the hidden price you may be paying in calories and unwelcome extra pounds from these “deals”. This holiday season can bring on extra stress in our lives, but don’t let an increased waistline be one of those stressors!