Whether you hate cooking or you just enjoy eating out at restaurants, it’s important to figure out how to stay healthy when you aren’t making the food you eat for yourself! Or maybe you are like me and it’s just hard to find time to cook due to work overload! Whatever the reason, enjoying a meal out should not ruin your healthy eating goals or ruin your diet and exercise plan!!
Here are a few tips and tricks for committing to healthy eating while at a restaurant:
Don’t feel the need to eat it all. While cleaning your plate is nice and makes you feel like you got your money’s worth, don’t be afraid to take a to-go box!! It’s best to ask for a to-go container when your meal is served… remove the temptation from your sight and feel good about getting two meals for one price!
Many places serve way more food than should be eaten by one person! You can consider sharing an entrée, too. You don’t have to lick the plate clean! Even if you’re getting healthy food, you shouldn’t overeat. My grandmother always made me clean my plate, but portions were much smaller back in the day! Today’s portions are out of control!! Ricky and I split entrees a lot or take half of it home. Try it out!!
Look at the ingredients when listed. Certain dishes will inherently be healthier than others… and you can usually get a good estimate of that by reading the description of the dish. Look out for words like creamy, crispy, and breaded. These are likely less healthy options. Instead, aim for dishes that use words like grilled, steamed, seared, or roasted. Go for food for fitness. Eating out doesn’t mean you have to neglect good dietary practices.
Eat the meat! Look for lean meats like turkey and chicken. If you’re getting beef, go for a leaner cut. By eating meat, you’ll feel full faster… and that keeps you from eating too many carbs!! And if you prefer eating vegan or vegetarian, here’s a list of some great sources of protein you can try. Chickpeas, edamame, quinoa, kidney beans, oats, walnuts, peanut butter, lentils, tofu, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and black beans. If you don’t know what else you could get or you simply want to know more, consider getting a free fitness consultation.
Be smart with the sides. If your entrée comes with side dishes, opt for healthy food such as veggies, fruit, soup, or light salads with low-fat dressing. With soup, go for a lighter soup instead of a heavy, creamy one. Consider vegetable soup over bisque. With a side salad, stay away from too many high-fat ingredients such as cheese and croutons. Lettuce and spinach are a good place to start!
Beware the bread and chips. Carbs….Ugh! You know when you sit down at a table and the waiter immediately sets down a basket of fresh bread? You can ask them not to! If the temptation is too great, ask for no bread. If you look at fitness tips for women and men, you’ll notice them say that it’s better to be without. It’s also worth noting that whole wheat or whole grain bread is better than something like garlic toast.
If you’re at a Mexican restaurant, don’t overdo it on the chips!! Easier said than done! We munch away on the chips and salsa and then feel like we need to eat the whole meal that comes after! Be careful about portion size and how much you’re eating before the real food actually comes!
Try mixing up the type of food you eat! Now I know some of y’all are picky eaters, but consider branching out! A lot of ethnic foods are healthier than other types of foods. For example, it’s easier to eat healthy food at a Japanese, Thai, or Greek restaurant than it is at a Mexican or Italian restaurant. There are more options for grilled meat and vegetables!
Look for Food for Fitness. The Fitness Fad is here to stay and many restaurants have catered to the people’s desire to stick to their diet and exercise plans. For the same reason, many are amenable to you altering your dishes to meet your macronutrient needs.
Think of the Drink. You might have a lot of healthy food on your plate but you also have to be mindful of what you drink. Even fruit shakes may have more sugar and sweeteners than you'd expect. If you really can't do without do some research into your favorite refresher. Water, fat-free or low-fat milk, or unsweetened tea are always on the menu if you can.
Share a Dish. If you're an adventurous eater, sharing a dish with family and friends is a great way to explore healthy food without spending too much on ordering the different dishes for yourself. You could try asking for small plates for everyone.
Take Part in a Free Fitness Consultation. While it may not seem like this has anything to do with eating out, there are a lot of things you can learn from a free fitness consultation that can help you make smart choices. We all have different body types and metabolisms so what might be good for your friend, might not work on you. We offer free fitness consultations so you can get your numbers and we can give you tips on what specific ingredients you should avoid when going out for a meal.
Our fitness tips for women are especially helpful considering that we as women have a lot on our plate to take care of - figuratively and literally. Well, maybe not literally. What I mean to say, is that, as a woman, one of the best ways to let off all the tension and stress away is to indulge in a scrumptious meal. I understand. I’ve been there. But this does not mean we should neglect our beautiful body.
The bottom line is that you have to pay attention and give it a little more thought when you’re eating out… but it is still possible to stay healthy even while eating out! Don’t let fear stop you… just decide beforehand that you’re not going to indulge in every fried food you see on the menu!! Tell the person you’re eating with that you are trying to eat healthy food and let them help you. Your body is worth it! Feed it well!!
P.S. My husband, Dr. Ricky, and I have written a nutrition plan to lose weight, and it includes some quick and easy recipes! It will be up for purchase on my website THIS WEEK! Once you purchase a diet and exercise plan, then I will email you more recipes throughout the year to help you stay on track!
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on YOUR schedule, on Any Device!