Eating out while maintaining the diet you’ve worked so hard to establish can be a seemingly impossible task, but have no fear—it is entirely possible! You simply need to use the tools available to you to identify good choices when eating out and then make those choices! Lucky for you, we are here to help. By remembering these four simple tips, you can ensure that your next meal out doesn’t end in feelings of guilt and regret, but in enjoyment and satisfaction.
This first tip may seem obvious—maybe even silly—but one of the best ways to minimize your caloric intake when eating out is to eat slowly. Eating slowly has been proven to spark feelings of fullness more effectively than eating quickly, so embracing this tip can be quite productive in limiting how much you eat in a sitting!
Often, going out to eat is simply a social activity centered around food, so this tip may be easy to follow. Focus on the present company, enjoy your friends and family, and let food take a backseat. If you’re eating out alone on your lunchbreak, this might be harder to do, so consider bringing a book or magazine to read—something to keep you a bit distracted—to slow you down.
Know Your Options
Ideally, you will be familiar with the restaurant’s menu before arriving. This knowledge will help you develop a shortlist of good choices and eliminate the temptation to make an impulse (and unhealthy) decision. If you aren’t familiar with the menu, don’t panic!
Take a breath before ordering and consider all of your options—eating out is supposed to be a pleasant experience, so there’s no pressure. Take your time, evaluate your options, and choose wisely. If you are aware of your priorities, suitable options should become rather obvious with experience! Be sure to look for keywords in menu items to avoid—think “buttery,” “fried,” and so on.
Don’t Punish Yourself
We all wish we could stick to our nutritional goals 100% of the time, but the reality is that this takes a toll physically, mentally, and emotionally. In other words, sometimes it is okay to break your strict diet and eat something you normally wouldn’t. Remember: physical improvement is the result of consistency over time. An occasional cheat meal will not destroy months of dedication!
If you’re the type of person that struggles with guilt after an unhealthy meal, don’t allow yourself to be discouraged. Instead, embrace the tasty treat you enjoyed and remind yourself that you will be back on track the next meal. It might even motivate you to make your next workout extra intense!
Establish Good Habits
Perhaps the most important principal of healthy living is to establish positive, maintainable habits. It is a common belief in the fitness community that drinking enough water is one of the keys to not only general good health, but to weight loss. Why is this concept so widely accepted? Because it’s true! If you have properly hydrated before and during your meal out, your hunger will be curbed.
Further, if you have established a well-rounded diet with the proper nutrients, your body will crave those healthier options and you will feel fuller. Proper minerals such as potassium and calcium can be integral in such a diet.
Naturally, these two habits go hand-in-hand with each other and often have some overlap. For example, our convenient filtration system adds vital vitamins and minerals to drinking water to help supercharge it, in a way. It is truly two birds with one, healthy stone!