Dim the Lights, Slim Your Bites: How Mood Lighting Can Shrink Your Snack Portions

There’s a never-ending list of strategies people use to try and reduce their calorie intake. Whether it’s chewing food more slowly, using smaller plates, or opting for healthier food options, it seems like everyone has a different approach. But did you know that changing something as simple as light and music could also have an effect on your appetite? In this article, we’ll explore the surprising benefits of dimming the lights and putting on some soft tunes during your mealtime. So, buckle up and let’s dive right in.

Setting the mood for mindful eating

Believe it or not, subtle changes in your dining environment can affect your overall eating behavior. Just like how interior designers use lighting and music to create a particular ambiance in restaurants or cafes, you can also use these elements to your advantage at home. By creating a calm and relaxed environment during mealtime, you can foster mindful eating habits, which in turn can help you consume less and feel more satisfied with your meals.

From fast food to fine dining

To support this bold claim, let’s take a look at a study that investigated the impact of dimmed lighting and soft music on calorie intake. In the experiment, researchers transformed a section of a Hardee’s fast-food restaurant into a fine-dining setting. The research team assumed that customers in the revamped area would consume more, simply because they’d want to spend more time in the pleasant environment. However, the results took them by surprise.

Customers in the fine-dining area ordered the same amount of food as those in the regular fast-food setting, but they ended up consuming 18 percent fewer calories. Not only that, but they reported enjoying their meals more. This unexpected finding led the researchers to believe that the relaxed atmosphere allowed the diners to eat more mindfully, ultimately preventing overeating.

Why it works

You’re probably wondering how something as simple as lighting and music can have such a significant impact on your eating habits. Well, there are a few explanations at play.

Firstly, dimming the lights subconsciously encourages you to slow down while you eat. In a fast-paced, brightly lit environment, we’re more likely to eat quickly and mindlessly, often resulting in consuming more food than we need. However, when you’re in a soothing setting with dimmed lights, you’re more likely to take your time and savor each bite. Subconsciously, you become more focused on the tastes and textures of your food, making you less likely to overeat.

Secondly, soft music helps to drown out background noise and further enhances the calming atmosphere. Just like dim lighting, calming music can help you relax and encourages slow, mindful eating.

Tips to create a mindful dining experience at home

Now that you’re aware of the benefits of dim lighting and soft tunes during mealtime, it’s time to implement these changes in your own home. To create an environment that promotes mindful eating, consider the following tips:

  1. Opt for dimmable lighting or use candles to create a warm, inviting atmosphere during dinner. Of course, make sure the light is still adequate to see your food and avoid any accidents.

  2. Choose calming music that won’t distract you from focusing on your meal. Create a playlist of soothing tunes or search for “dinner music” playlists on your favorite streaming platform.

  3. Turn off all electronic devices, such as TVs, smartphones, and tablets, during mealtime. These distractions can hinder your ability to eat mindfully and diminish the effect of the calm environment you’ve created.

  4. Engage in conversation with your dining companions, if possible. Mindful eating isn’t just about focusing on your food, but also on the company you share it with. Connecting with others during mealtime can enhance enjoyment and promote healthier eating habits.

  5. Take your time while eating, and remember to savor each bite. By eating slowly, you’ll give your brain enough time to register when you’re full, which can help prevent overeating.

The final word

While it may sound too good to be true, dimming the lights and playing soft music during mealtime could be an effective and enjoyable way to cut back on calories. So why not give it a try? Light some candles, put on your favorite relaxing tunes, and prepare to indulge in a more mindful and satisfying dining experience.