“I want some tips for when I eat out. Give ‘em to me Adam!”
You can still can follow our lifestyle without depriving yourself!
Many people have trouble keeping to a healthy diet when they go to a restaurant. Don’t give in! Eating out doesn’t mean we have to get off track. I don’t want to hear that eating healthy at restaurants is too expensive either! This is you we are talking about here and you can go to any chain restaurant and still stick to your diet.
You can and should go about your normal life and stay on track when you eat out. The key to success is implementing a few new habits to help prevent temptation so you don’t sabotage yourself.
Here it goes:
Know your enemies. Obviously pick the healthiest restaurant possible, but if this isn’t an option, identify ahead of time what things at the restaurant could throw you off your diet. Eliminate or address them in advance. If there is a restaurant that has a certain unhealthy food you know you can’t resist, like the best french fries in town, pick another place.
There’s always another restaurant. If you can’t go healthy, go for variety so that if your friends are insistent on pizza, you might still be able to get salad, chicken, or fish.
Practice control. Remember, willpower is extremely overrated! You cannot eat what isn’t there. If you are eating at a place that serves bread or chips on the table just ask your server not to bring them.
Get support. If you are with friends and they want the nachos supreme, ask them to help you out. Make your friends aware that you are watching what you eat, and ask them to help you resist. Have them keep the chips away from you, on the other side of the table, and tell them not to let you have any, no matter what.
Ask your server. Educate yourself about the food so that you can make healthy choices. How is the food cooked, what’s used in the preparation, what comes on the side are all great questions. These are all things you want to know.
Make substitutions. Order the chicken fajita, but instead of the Mexican rice and refried beans, ask for a salad on the side. Ask for grilled vegetables or a baked potato instead of french fries. Switch the hash browns for sliced tomatoes. You feel me? This will take a little extra thought at ﬁrst, but in no time, it’ll be second nature.
Modify the menu. If you have looked through the menu and there are no healthy options, you can usually create your own by requesting a change. Any good restaurant should be accommodating. Ask if you can have your ﬁsh or chicken grilled instead of breaded; ask if you can have Dijon mustard sauce on the chicken instead of cream sauce; ask for the salad dressing on the side; and get your omelet with egg whites.
Hold the condiments. A healthy grilled chicken salad that would only be 300 calories can quickly double if a fatty dressing is added to it. A burger can have up to 200 calories just from the ketchup alone! Ask for your turkey sandwich with mustard instead of mayo.
Watch your portions. The portions we get in restaurants are usually out of control. Make sure you don’t go overboard just because there’s more food on your plate than you need. Share an entrée with a friend, or ask the server to put half your meal in a doggy bag before he/she even brings it to the table so that you can save it for a meal the next day. (Definitely do this if you’re on a date! 🙂 )
Fill up on fiber. Eat as many veggies and as much salad as you can (as long as the dressing is on the side!), because this will make you feel more full and keep you from overeating other, more fattening foods.
Don’t feel guilty. Stop eating if you are full and leave the food on your plate. Ask the server to take away your plate. If you want get crazy! Destroy the food by dumping salt all over it. Throw it on the floor. Throw it on your friend. (Hey, you can always tell more about a person when something bad or annoying happens anyway!)
You get the idea. Get creative about empowering yourself to beat temptation before it beats you!
Also, remember to be social. In general dining out should be a pleasurable experience that revolves around more than just food.
Sit back, relax, enjoy the company, eat slowly, and savor the whole experience.
Your table is now ready…