Eating out can sometimes be a welcomed change from our regular day to day especially when we're pressed for time and exhausted after a long work day. We can avoid the meal planning, the cooking and the cleaning. However, eating out can also be a source of stress when you're trying to eat a certain way. When we aren't at home, we have less control over what goes into our meals and often it's a lot higher in sodium, fat and calories than we would like.
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Many of my clients due to their line of work will often eat out or on the run. If you find yourself eating out more often than not it's ESPECIALLY important to make healthful food choices.
Maintaining a healthy diet when eating out can be difficult but definitely not impossible. Here are some tips to help keep you on track so that you can enjoy your time away from your kitchen - guilt free.
- If you have the choice try choosing a more vegetarian/vegan friendly restaurant. There are a ton of fantastic ones out there! You're more likely to get healthier options.
- Plan ahead! Go online and google search the restaurant that you will be eating at. Check out the menu beforehand and take some time to choose a healthy meal. This way you can avoid being unprepared and making a bad decision last minute.
- What's your game plan? Indulge in one thing and not ALL things! You don't want to undo all of your fabulous work in one meal! Are you going to skip the bread basket? Do you prefer to indulge in an appetizer or dessert? Will you stick to a heart healthy glass of wine or are you going to indulge yourself in a cocktail or blended drink? (remember though, these are full of sugar and extra calories) Make a game plan ahead of time and stick to it!
- Avoid pop and stick to water or order a warm cup of water with lemon
- Look for menu options that are steamed, broiled, roasted, baked or poached. Avoid foods that are fried, creamed, battered, scalloped or buttery
- Ask for extra veggies on the side instead of rice, potatoes, fries, mashed potatoes or pasta
- Avoid super-sizing anything including your drink
- Be mindful of your salad dressings! Stick to balsamic or lemon with olive oil variations
- Opt out of cheese, mayo, or heavy cream sauces and go for mustard variations and extra vegetables
- No deep fried foods, they contain altered fats that are detrimental to the body
- Order a large veggie salad prior to your meal to curb the impulse to overeat
- Take your time! Slow down and remember to enjoy your meal. This will help keep you in tune to your body and stop when feeling satisfied. Our digestive system functions best when we eat in a relaxed state.
- It's ok to leave food on your plate! If there are leftovers take them home for lunch the next day & don't place unnecessary stress on your body by overeating.
- Ask to see a nutrition chart before ordering
- Always order foods that show a ton of color on your plate - like a rainbow!
- Don’t go out for a meal starving,! Keep healthy bars (like Luna, The Simply Bar, Taste of Nature or Vega) nuts or trail mix handy to keep you satisfied