Start your meals by eating vegetables or salad and you will eat fewer calories overall, while getting a more nutritious meal. How many times have you or your kids copped out on eating veggies or salad because this dish was saved for last?
A recent study using college students found that whichever food the students ate first from their plate ended up being the food they ate the most of by that meal. So, the students who started with vegetables ended up eating more veggies overall, which translated into them eating less calories and fewer simple carbs like dinner roles or French fries. Similarly, the students who started with bread or French fries ate more carbs total, which meant they consumed significantly more calories by the end of the meal.
This strategy works because as long as you see and eat the same volume of food, you are likely to feel full and satisfied despite the lower intake in energy. Making it a habit to always eat fruits and vegetables first before taking a bite of cooked food can help you and your family stay lean, while increasing veggie servings.
Get your kids to do this by compromising with them—if they eat a serving of salad or veggies first, they can have a food of their choice as part of the meal, or later as a snack. Eventually, eating vegetables first will become a natural habit that will keep them healthier throughout their life.
Wansink, B., Tal, A., et al. First Foods Most: After 18-Hour Fast, People Drawn to Starches First and Vegetables Last. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2012. 172(12), 961-963.