Wish you had more willpower when dining out? Nonverbally ordering your food may help you choose healthier options, suggests new Dutch research.
In one experiment, scientists approached people in a restaurant and offered them a free dessert: either fruit salad or chocolate mousse. Half of the diners were asked which dessert they wanted, while the other half pressed buttons to indicate their preferences.
Two thirds of people who ordered out loud went for the cake, compared to only 38 percent of those who pressed the buttons.
Several subsequent experiments found a similar effect: People made healthier choices when they pressed buttons on vending machines, wrote their orders down, or simply grabbed the food themselves than when they ordered aloud.
Why? Using your hands when you order activates a part of your brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is also involved with impulse control, says study author Anne-Kathrin Klesse, Ph.D.
If you'd like to receive regular tips like these from Snow School, you can follow us on Facebook or Twitter simply by clicking the links below.
And if you'd just like to receive our monthly Snowballs promotions in your inbox - and save real money - then you'll probably want to sign up for our private newsletter. Register now, and you'll immediately receive a special offer.