For those days when you know you’re going to need to eat on the run, it can be especially hard to resist the temptations of the take-out restaurant or deli that you hit up for your lunch.  A great way to cut calories on those days was proven in a recent study – order well ahead!

The study, published in the Journal of Marketing Research, found that longer delays between placing a lunch order and eating lunch was associated with a reduction in calorie content of the order, with 38 calories less ordered per hour of delay between the order and lunchtime.  They also found that people who ordered lunch immediately before eating had the highest calorie content of their order – about 100 calories more than someone ordering earlier in the day.

Ordering lunch soon after breakfast may be the best time to order, perhaps because of fullness from breakfast, or perhaps because it’s easier to think about exerting self control over our future selves than our present selves.  Perhaps the stress of the day hasn’t yet taken hold in the earlier morning, allowing us to make healthier lunch choices (stress can cause us to eat more and crave unhealthy foods).  Whatever the reason, try ordering lunch when you get to the office in the morning, and let me know how it goes via comments to this post!

Thanks to my friend Bob for the heads’ up on this study!

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