Tips To Eat Healthy When Eating Out
Going out to eat can be a super fun way to socialize and have fun. However, nowadays dining out can also be linked to overeating, gaining weight and being unhealthy. Now you don’t have to totally give up your social life and only eat meals you cook yourself, but there are some ways you can make going out to a restaurant a little healthier, as to not completely derail your goals.
Reading the menu before you go is something I do quite a bit if I’m not familiar with the restaurant. For me, it’s more about seeing what meals have macronutrients that work for me, and what kinds of things to avoid. Also, if you already have an idea as to what you’re going to order, you’re less likely to be distracted by the sights and smells of food. If you are hungry as well, having a plan before you go may prevent you from making a snap decision that may not be so healthy.
I’ve heard people sometimes say, “We’re going out for a big supper, so I’m not going to eat anything all day so I can eat whatever I want while I’m there.” Going to a restaurant starving can sometimes lead to some overeating. Being so hungry that you need to order two appetizers before your meal just so food gets set in front of you faster can lead to disaster. Or, if you go somewhere that serves complimentary breadsticks or bread before your meal, you’ve suddenly eaten an entire loaf of bread to yourself before you’ve even ordered! If you know you are heading out for supper, make sure you still eat normally during the day, you’ll be less likely to be completely starving and go overboard when you get there.
Ordering a drink when you are out for a meal is definitely a common thing people do, but it’s something that can add tones of calories and tones of sugar to your daily intake, plus can also make that bill at the end of your meal seem pretty steep. Whether it be alcoholic, or a sugary soft drink, you’re easily adding 200+ calories to your daily intake, and that’s without multiple refills. If you want to enjoy a drink, you can cut back on the measures of the drink, (think not making it “Moxie size”) or mixing your alcohol with water instead of fruity, sugary juices and pop.
Having a drink when you are out at a restaurant is not something you should never do, you still need balance, but if you are really wanting to take your health seriously, or have a very specific weight loss or performance goals, nothing beats water. Plus, it’s free!
Making a healthier choice at a restaurant can also be deciding how your food is prepared. Try to stay away from menu items that read ‘crispy’, ‘deep fried’ or ‘creamy’. Instead, you want to look for words like ‘steamed’, ‘fresh’ or ‘grilled’. The way your food is prepared and cooked can have a significant impact on the amount of calories it contains.
A healthy swap or substitution is always a better choice as well. Something like swapping out your side of french fries for seasonally steamed vegetables is the perfect way to make a healthy choice, and after your meal, your stomach will thank you too. Ever feel super bloated or uncomfortable after going out to eat? Anything deep fried or covered in sauce would definitely be a culprit for some not so ideal digestion, so swap out those foods when you can!
Asking for sauce on the side is something I always do, and if I forget to ask, I always regret it. When you ask for dressing on the side, you usually get less of an amount anyways, plus you get to control the amount that goes onto your meal. Usually when you let the restaurant put dressing on a salad for you, there is more dressing than actual vegetables! Which kind of defeats the purpose if you ask me.
There will definitely be times when you want to eat your favorite food for pleasure, and not have to worry about whether it’s healthy or not. This is called balance. Being somewhat flexible with your diet and food choices is healthy. It’s helpful to think about how a certain meal fits into your lifestyle overall. In the grand scheme of things, going out for a nice dinner or to a restaurant once or twice a month isn’t going to completely derail the progress or work you have put in. What you do all the other days of the month is what is going to determine your success. Consistency wins everytime!
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