“I never eat out” said no one ever! Well at least not anyone living in the in the Western world, with a job, a family, personal and professional responsibilities, and a social life. The thing is, eating out has become a normal and celebratory part of our culture and instead of condemning it, why not learn to make it part of a healthy lifestyle. (And it is possible.)
Yes, absolutely! a home cooked meal prepared with love in your own kitchen where you have total control over what you’re eating and what goes in it is always better, but let’s be real. Cooking all 3 meals a day for 7 days a week, 30 days a month, 365 days a year is just not realistic today. So how can we balance eating out so that we are not derailing our health and weight goals? don’t worry, your health coach Maureen is here and I have your back ;).
Here are the 3 things you can do when eating out to enjoy the experience while still adhering to your health and wellness goals.
1. Plan ahead and set an intention:
Whether we are eating out because of convenience after a long day of work or we’re out celebrating a girlfriends birthday, taking a second to plan ahead and set our intention for our choices is important. Taking a moment to think and plant the seeds of intention in our minds beforehand can help guide our behavior. Try something like “I will go to this dinner, have a great time connecting and catching up with my girls AND I’ll choose to eat in a way that is good for my body”. or “I might not have the time to make a nutritious meal at home but I’ll make the best choice with what’s available and be sure to plan ahead for the next few days”. Taking a moment to look at the menu to see what options you have to work with beforehand is also good idea. When making a choice it’s best to opt for restaurants that have healthy cooking options and offer freshly prepared food using whole foods rather than fast, fried foods or highly processed foods. That way you can go into the dining experience with confidence, ready to enjoy and have a good time without any negative feelings around your meal.
2. Choose the veggie and lean protein dish:
A salad topped with your choice of protein is usually a safe, no fail, go-to healthy menu item. But what if you’re not up for a salad? Or what if its a cold fall or winter evening and the last thing you want is a cold dish? Another viable option is the grilled or baked protein and veggie dish-opting for the sauce less option. Whether that’s baked fish with seasonal veggies, or grilled chicken with the veggie medley. Choosing the lean protein and non starchy veggies entree guarantees a nutritious plate that will fill you up, keep any digestive problems at bay, and keep that waistline from creeping up. Emphasis on NON STARCHY here- so that’s asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, string beans, brussell sprouts, leafy greens, etc. Sweet and white potatoes, squash, squash, corn and peas are great but are considered starchy vegetables and although they are also very nutritious we want most of our vegetables to be of the non-starchy variety. These contain the most fiber and are low in sugar which is a win win for a healthy gut and weight management.
3. Doggy-bag or share it:
If your soul is calling for that pasta…go ahead and get pasta. I love pasta and pizza as much as the next girl and I don’t restrict myself of it- when I want pizza I get pizza. Eating out is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, and feelings of restriction and anxiety around what food to order is the complete opposite of that . Instead of restricting yourself what your soul truly desires, go ahead and get it!…BUT rather than down the whole bowl of pasta or half a pizza, which are too large for one serving, share it with a friend or have the waiter doggy half of it before bringing it to the table. Then, substitute the other half with a side salad or veggie side dish for to complete the meal. Doing this will leave you feeling full and satisfied- that way you get to enjoy your favorite food while still nourishing your body and not left with feelings of regret, shame, upset, or discomfort.
See, with a few simple mindset and behavioral shifts eating out CAN be part of a healthy lifestyle after all.
Did you love these tips? What if there was more where that come from? Even more tips and tricks to make eating out a part of a healthy lifestyle so you can take advantage of the convenience of eating out AND still maintain your health and weight goals. Would you like them?
If yes! CLICK HERE to pre-order your copy of “Eat out Like a Nutritionist: tips and tricks to make eating out part of a healthy lifestyle”. Simply provide your name and email and you’ll be one of the very first to snag this life changing Ebook as soon as it is available.