How To Eat Healthy While Eating Out
Dinner events come up all the time, and while it might be easy to shrug off your closest friends when they invite you out to yet another cocktail hour, it’s a bit harder to get out of family obligations and almost impossible to skate your way out of a business dinner just because you’re eating healthy now. Learning how to eat healthy when you go out to eat is one of the best ways to avoid over consumption of unnecessary calories, trans fats and simple sugars. It’s also necessary if you don’t want to be a hermit who never goes out.
Tips To Eat Healthy At Any Restaurant
Meal prep is one of the best ways to eat healthy and avoid the oversized portions, trans fat and simple sugars that can be found in most mass produced restaurant meals. Unfortunately you can’t always skip a night out, so you have to learn how to eat healthy even without your meal prep. Here are seven of the best tips for eating healthy when you have to eat out.
1. Eat Before You Head Out
Don’t skip out on breakfast or lunch just because you’re planning on going out for dinner. You will have more control over what you eat, and how much you eat if you don’t walk into the restaurant starving. It is even a good idea to have a light snack featuring fiber and protein about an hour before heading to your dinner plans. Eating a healthy snack before you head out ensures that you don’t gorge yourself on food that is too unhealthy in portions that are too large.
2. Split A Healthy App
If you arrive to dinner and are feeling a bit famished feel free to order a healthy appetizer to take the edge off. Make sure that you don’t eat too much by splitting it with a friend or a colleague. Don’t make the mistake of skipping out on a healthy app to indulge instead in bread or chips that some restaurants serve as a complimentary starter. The point of your appetizer isn’t to just fill you up a bit, it’s to fill you with nutrients.
3. Order First
There is one sure fire way to make sure that you are not influenced by the ordering decisions of your group when you go out to eat, and that is to always put your order in first. Once your order is in, don’t change your mind. By putting your food order in before the rest of your party you make sure that you aren’t swayed into making a less healthy choice.
4. Make Healthy Substitutions
Restaurant meals often come with an option for which sides you’d like. You are often be able to choose between french fries, mashed potatoes, the vegetable of the day and a salad to go with your chicken or steak dish. Did you know though, that even if your dish comes with a certain side (like fries with a burger) you can often ask to make a simple swap to make a healthier meal. For instance you might get a side salad with your burger and a whole grain bun, or no bun at all. Now you’ve cut out saturated fats for leafy greens and you’re well on your way to a healthier meal.
5. Get Extras On The Side
When you make pasta dishes, burgers and salads at home you dress them yourself with sauces, toppings and dressings to make sure that you’re getting exactly what you want. So why not allow yourself the same privilege when you go out for dinner? If you’re paying for the food that you’re eating then you have every right for it to be exactly the way that you want it. Ask for anything or everything on the side so that you can dress your own meals out and get exactly what you want, every single time.
6. Get A Box
As soon as your food arrives, or even before it is delivered to your table ask for a box so that you can immediately pack away half of your meal for leftovers to take home and enjoy later. This tactic of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ will help you from eating too much in one sitting. Restaurant meal options are served in notoriously too large portion sizes, so immediately cutting them in half is the best way to make sure that you don’t over indulge. This is especially helpful if you are a ‘clean plate person’ who will eat everything whether you’re hungry or not just to avoid ‘wasting’ food.
7. Mix It Up
When you are at home eating do you always eat an appetizer followed by a full meal and finished with dessert? If that’s not the way that you eat on a regular basis then why would you make it the way that you eat when you’re out at a restaurant? If you want an appetizer as your meal or even just a few healthy sides to make up your dinner you can do that whether you are at home or out somewhere. All you have to do is order exactly what you want. There are no ‘rules’ about eating out, nothing telling you that you have to have dinner a certain way. All you have to do is make sure that you order something that you’ll like and won’t destroy your healthy eating goals.
Make Healthy Eating A Habit
The more common and routine a healthy way of eating is to your everyday life the easier it will be to spot the healthy meal choices on the menu and the easier it will be to turn away from the unhealthy options. Prepare most of your meals ahead of time by practicing meal prep and you’ll become accustomed to eating well so that when you’re faced with the dilemma of having to eat at a restaurant for whatever reason, you won’t settle for anything less than high quality food choices and healthy substitutions. Make healthy eating a habit that you don’t want to break.
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