Tips on Eating Healthy When Eating Out
This is probably the hardest hurdle to tackle when changing your lifestyle to cleaner, healthier eating. Eating out includes any restaurant, fast food, event, another person’s home, or any other place you will be consuming food that is not in your home; where you are not surrounded by your “normal” consumable food that you prepare.
Prep. You really should plan ahead when eating out. If you know you will be eating at a restaurant for lunch or dinner, then plan your food intake throughout the day. Make sure the meals and snacks you will be eating at home are healthy; low-fat, high-fiber, high-protein options. Once you have lowered your calorie intake at home, you will be better prepared for dining out.
- If you are worried about your ability to maintain moderation, have a high-protein and/or high-fiber snack before you leave the house (i.e. apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter, a piece of thin sliced turkey wrapped in lettuce).
Ordering. If you use the MyFitnessPal app, you can plan what you will be ordering before you even arrive at the restaurant. If you don’t have the time to look on the restaurant’s website, or do not have access to MyFitnessPal, here are a few suggestions when it comes to ordering your meal:
- Look for the low-calorie section of the menu. Many restaurants have a section on their menu for the healthy options, where they list the calories as well. Order from this section of the menu.
- Think like Sally (When Harry Met Sally) and order dressings, sauces, etc. on the side. In fact, feel free to order a la carte so you don’t have a large plate of food staring up at you. Use the Burger King theme, “Have it your way!” when you go anywhere. Many restaurants are very accommodating to special requests (just be sure to ask politely, don’t be demanding, you don’t want to be “one of those customers”).
- Pay attention to how items are prepared and avoid fried, sauced, overly salted foods. Stick to grilled and baked items.
- Limit your alcohol intake. These are empty calories that increase the hunger chemicals in your body.
- See if anyone in your dining party wants to share an entree. This option saves you money and calories.
MODERATION! You can always have a bite (or two) of a shared appetizer or dessert. Just don’t eat an entire appetizer, a huge meal, and an entire dessert (plus a few alcoholic drinks) all by your little self. This is how the calories start to add up and your body feels painfully full and bloated.
Hydration. Always stay hydrated throughout the day, during your meal, and after your meal. Many times those hunger pangs are brought on by thirst and chemical reactions to all the yummy smells in the restaurant. Drink lots of water during your meal and after your meal to feel more full and satiated.
No one said eating healthy was a piece of cake (oohh cake!). Go easy on yourself if you splurge. It is not the end of the world. Healthy living is a journey where mistakes and wrongs roads can be taken at any time. Just remember to try your best, there is always tomorrow, and you can always add an extra work-out into your week if you went really overboard. Stay strong! Stay healthy!