We’ve all been there, haven’t we? We decide we want to take up a healthier lifestyle. We want to detox from all of the junk food, alcohol, and things that don’t tend to contribute to our health. Maybe we want to lose a few pounds too, or simply maintain our health. Then: BAM! As soon as you feel like you’re in the swing of things, before you’ve seen any real progress, you’re invited to eat out. Maybe it’s a long overdue catch up with friends, a family member’s birthday, or something else that you just can’t turn down. How can you make eating out less of a chore when you want to be healthy? Here are some ideas and inspiration that will help you to make eating out with your loved ones enjoyable, regardless of what your goals are. Don’t turn down that meal! Read on to find out what to do…
Check Out The Menu Online Before You Go
If you’re worried about what’s going to be on the menu or you’re afraid you’ll take too long to choose, check out the menu online before you go. This will allow you to choose what you’re going to have, and maybe help you to relax before the day so you know you’re going to get something you want and enjoy yourself.
Most menus these days have a ‘light bites’ section, or a section that is deemed healthier than the rest. You don’t necessarily need to eat from this section, but it’s worth checking it out beforehand anyway. You could even think about altering a meal, like taking away the burger bun or swapping a huge plate of fries for a huge plate of vegetables. Most restaurants will be happy to do this to keep you happy!
Put It Into A Food Tracking App
If you’re trying to eat a healthier diet or you have weight loss goals, chances are, you probably put your food into a tracking app. If you don’t, you’re missing out! A tracking app can give you more of an idea of what’s in your food, such as sodium and sugar. Sometimes, the actual restaurant nutritional value will be in the database for you to add, so you have the most accurate idea of fat, protein, carbs, and calories. However, this won’t always be the case. If this is the case, don’t worry. You can simply add something that looks similar. If there are a few options, pick the average one. The important thing is that you’re being consistent with your tracking, not that you’re being perfect.
By doing this, you can easily plan the rest of the day around what you intend to eat without worrying or feeling guilty.
Choose Something With High Nutritional Value
Make sure you choose something on the menu with a high nutritional value. This is better for your body, and will likely keep you fuller for longer. You probably won’t even be tempted by dessert! Some meals might be considered ‘light bites’, but they aren’t always the healthiest thing you can eat. Rather than focusing consuming the least amount of calories, focus on selecting something that is nutrient dense. It should contain plenty of vegetables, nuts, lean protein – as many natural ingredients as possible.
It goes without saying that you should avoid anything fried or deep fried and go for something baked, steamed, or grilled instead.
Stay Away From The Bread and Breadsticks
Bread and breadsticks in the middle of the table can be a huge problem when eating out. If you’re hungry, you reach for one, and before you know it you’ve eaten the equivalent of a meal in the form of bread! You’ve pretty much ruined your meal, and you haven’t even enjoyed what you’ve eaten all that much. It’s mindless eating, and can really add needless calories onto your meal.
Do your best to be mindful and steer clear of the bread in the middle of the table. Better yet, move the bread to another side of the table, or simply ask the staff not to bring any out (if everybody else is OK with this too, of course). Removing temptation completely should make you feel better.
Eat Properly The Rest Of The Day – Don’t Starve Yourself!
Some people try to ‘make up’ for eating out by starving themselves the rest of the day. However, this is a terrible idea. You’ll likely be absolutely ravenous by the time it’s time for your food, and you’ll order everything in site. It wouldn’t be surprising if you finished off your friend’s meals too! Make sure you eat properly the rest of the day to avoid this. Eat a proper breakfast, and have a healthy lunch. Keep it as healthy as you can and you won’t feel so bad if your meal comes with a calorific sauce, or a side of fries, for instance. You’ll feel far more satiated when you’re finished too!
Go Somewhere That Could Cater To Your Needs
There are so many restaurants out there that could cater to your needs. Many will serve you a simple plate of meat and vegetables, even if it’s not on the meal. Read a few reviews and see if you can find anywhere like that to visit, if you have a say in where you go out to eat. Unsafe Foods has info on places you might not want to visit and things you might want to avoid eating, so it could be worth looking at that too.
Get A Gym Session In Before You Go
If you can get a gym session in before you go, you’re going to enjoy a ton of benefits. You’ll have a release of endorphins, which will allow you to relax and feel happier at the meal. Your metabolism will also be fired up, so anything you eat will be burned off faster. You have a reason not to feel so guilty about what you eat too.
This doesn’t mean you should stay on the treadmill for hours until you’re sure you’ve burned off enough calories. Simply go for a jog outside, do a circuit workout, or lift some weights for 45 minutes. It’ll make a big difference!
Go Easy On The Alcohol
If you’re on a fat loss mission, you probably know that as soon as you drink alcohol, your body works to process that rather than fat. Avoiding alcohol will be your best bet in these instances. It also goes without saying that many alcoholic drinks are full of calories, and you’re not going to feel great when the hangover kicks in the next day!
If you can’t avoid alcohol altogether, limit yourself to a couple of drinks. Better yet, drink something like gin and slimline tonic, as it is low in calories and one of the cleanest drinks.
Know You Can Enjoy Yourself Without Stuffing Your Face
It’s possible to enjoy yourself without totally stuffing yourself. You don’t need to eat a giant pizza and feel sick at the end of your meal to have a good time. Make sure you stay mindful, and enjoy the company of those you’re with instead! It should be about the whole experience, not just the food.
Drink Water With Your Meal
If you can, avoid soda too and drink water with your meal. Water is the healthiest drink out there, and can help you to stop confusing hunger with thirst. Make sure you stay hydrated during the day before your meal too. Try to drink a big bottle of water. Drinking soda with your meal could very well make you crave more sweet things, including dessert!
Really take your time with each mouthful. Chew slowly, and put your knife and fork down in between bites. This will allow you to make the most of your meal, enjoy every mouthful, and get a better idea of when your body is full. If you wolf it down, you won’t feel satisfied straight away and might just want to eat more!
Have A ‘Cheat’ Meal and Don’t Feel Guilty
Finally, if all of this sounds a bit much, you could always class your meal as a ‘cheat’ and don’t feel guilty. Everybody deserves a cheat every so often. Not only is it better for our mindset, it can help to keep your metabolism running quickly. If you train hard during the week and eat mostly healthy foods, one cheat meal is not going to harm you. Balance is key to living a healthy, happy life. Providing you don’t go completely overboard and eat until you’re sick, it should not be a problem.
Hopefully, you’ve found these tips useful and you’ll use some of them next time you’re due to eat out with your loved ones. Eating out is supposed to be an experience. An enjoyable one! You don’t all need to have the same goals, beliefs, and mindsets around food for it to be enjoyable. There’s absolutely no need to sacrifice your goals if you follow this advice. Leave your thoughts below, and have a great time!