10 Things Your Restaurant Won't Tell You

Americans spend roughly half their food budget dining out, and restaurants are getting increasingly more savvy about getting you to part with more of your dollars.

What are some of the effective tricks used in their marketing psychology?

If you‘ve ever been hit by the urge to leave a fast food restaurant within minutes of sitting down, it‘s not by chance. Fast food restaurants encourage you to get out of your seat quickly by providing as little "feel-good" ambiance as possible. Bright lights, bright colors, loud upbeat music and uncomfortable seating increases turnover.

Do you usually opt for the Daily Special, thinking you‘re getting the chef‘s inspiration of the day at a great price? Then consider this: daily specials are often dishes prepared specifically to get rid of ingredients nearing the end of its shelf life. To spot these iffy "specials," look out for expensive items used in a way that minimizes its flavor, such as cut and braised lamb chops playing second fiddle in a dish.

Many don‘t realize just how much butter and extra calories are added to even the healthiest restaurant fares, in order to keep your taste buds making mental notes to return. According to a registered dietician and representative for the American Dietetic Association, restaurant meals average between 1,000 to 1,500 calories.

MSN Money May 3, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Although eating out is sometimes unavoidable, and sometimes a delicious treat for a special occasion, I recommend switching over to home-cooked meals for the majority of your lunches and dinners. Not only will it save you lots of money, you will also know exactly what's in the dish you're eating, which is key when you're trying to lose weight and maintain good health.

My previous article Promoting Sustainable Agriculture offers a wide variety of links to everything from local organic farmers markets, to slow food organizations, to independent farms, as well as other groups that can help guide you in your quest to obtain fresh, nutrient-dense foods for your home cooking. 
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