How many of us find ourselves having a solid week of nutrition sticking to our goals, and then blow it on the weekend? Have you ever gone out to eat and given yourself an excuse to go a little overboard because “There’s nothing healthy to eat!”? Or what about the embarrassment that comes from being picky or eating healthy? I’m sure we’ve all experienced these instances to some extent. What can we do to solve this issue? Stop going out to eat, only order water with a lemon, or cheat on our goals? How about trying some of the following ideas to eat out without pigging out:
- Look up the restaurant’s menu online before going. Being prepared and knowing your options can alleviate any stress or embarrassment.
- Pick something you would normally eat. If you don’t eat cheesy, greasy food on a regular basis, why should you eat it at a restaurant? Pick something your body is familiar with eating.
- The more color to your selection the better. I don’t mean get the nachos because they have multi-colored chips, but pick something with a little variety. A salad with lots of toppings, a sandwich with fresh veggies, or an entrée with a few portion appropriate sides.
- Check for a lite-eaters section. I’m not recommending you eat less, but let’s be honest, restaurant servings sizes are far from the recommended allotment.
- Choose grilled, broiled, or baked items over deep fried. Deep friend mushrooms do not count as a vegetable, nor does skipping the bun make up for a fried chicken breast. Simple items cooked without oil will have enough flavor and seasoning.
- Skip appetizers and bread baskets. Do your normal meals include half a loaf of bread, chips and salsa, and mozzarella sticks? Hopefully not. Fuel your body like you normally do, eating out is no excuse to splurge.
- Try something you’ve never tried before! I know the Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo sounds good but so does the Mahi-Mahi with pineapple salsa and rice pilaf. Choose nutrient rich over calorie dense.
- If you get to pick the restaurant, pick something ethnic! Most non-American restaurants have menus full of foods based around lentils, vegetables, and meat!
- Order a la carte items. By doing so, you know exactly what you are getting and you aren’t tempted by unhealthy sides.
- Plan on taking half the meal home. Knowingly eating with plans for leftovers can help you from over-eating just because the food is in front of you. Who doesn’t love leftovers for lunch the next day!?
- Dressings on the side. This allows you to be honest with yourself and only use what’s needed or skip it all together.
- Skip dessert and have a coffee. It’s something sweet that stimulates your metabolism and keeps your hands occupied while others over indulge.
What are your favorite ways to eat out without pigging out?