Why The Restaurant's Free Appetizers Are Not Your Friend

Have you ever chosen a restaurant based on whether or not they offer free appetizers?

I have. This is one of the reasons I  enjoy going to Mexican and Italian restaurants so much. They offer free chips and salsa or free bread and oil.

So, how is this possibly a bad thing?
My favorite chips and salsa by El Tiempo

The wait staff may be acting friendly, but they are sabotaging your diet. They say things like, "I'll be right back with your chips and salsa!" You think BONUS! Then the sneaky, yet hard working bus boy slips you not only your second basket, but your third basket as well. You think, "Dangit, I think I just ate three baskets of chips!" You may be right. 

The bread may be even worse. If you go out for a nice dinner for two and the restaurant gives you a loaf of bread. This means that you will probably eat half a loaf of bread. This is not how one typically eats, but if it's there it gets eaten. Then they bring the second loaf. Not wanting to be wasteful you start indulging and as soon as you grab your second piece from the second loaf they plop down a plate of pasta large enough to be considered 'family style'. 

Don't get me wrong I love free stuff. I love chips and salsa as well as bread and oil. I just know that in endless amounts they can be detrimental to my diet. 

Why free appetizers hurt your diet:

1. They are never ending- The restaurant is nice enough to keep bringing them.
It just keeps coming
2. The calories in one serving of chips (about 12 chips) is 150 calories. One slice of garlic bread is about 150 calories. I never have just one. It's like Pringles~ Once you pop, the fun don't stop.
3. It is mindless eating. Keeping track of the chips or bread you eat while conversing with friends is difficult. I could EASILY consume more calories in the appetizer than I should in my entire meal if I'm not paying attention.
4. They make you full. If you're like me that stinks because you will not waste the portion of the meal you are paying for so you over eat and leave in a food coma.
5. Remember the The Sabotaging S's of Skinny? They're definitely in there.

Tips for handling the free appetizer:

1. Ask the wait staff to stop after one serving. (I would say none, but you gotta get some "free" stuff.)
2. Cover it with a napkin. Out of sight; out of mind.
3. Hand in whatever is left with your menus after you order. This gives you time to digest before your meal and you will not be so full when you actually start eating dinner.
4. People have said to play with or ruin the food. I don't like this because it makes a mess and can be construed as rude. I would revert to tip #1.

Don't let the pre-dinner meal ruin your experience or your diet. Go in with a plan and stick to it. Stick to sharing a meal with your real family and friends, not the freebies the restaurant gives you. 

Which is easier: Saying no to chips or bread?

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Twitter- @Jon_Kidwell


Sorry to all the Mexican and Italian restaurants for throwing you under the bus. I will get to the 'other guys' in another post.

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