Eating out is a chance to socialize and reconnect with people. But it also comes with health hazards. These tips give a healthy eating out experience!
In our fast paced life, we tend to eat out now more than ever before. Due to time, social factors, and other influences, we actually tend to eat outside of the home almost more than many of us eat at home! This can be a problem in terms of maintaining optimal health, as most restaurants don’t offer the highest quality foods, nor are they typically prepared in the most healthful way. While it may not be a possibility for you to completely avoid eating out, there are some tips and strategies for you to be aware of that can help you make your dining out experience at least better than it otherwise would be.
Check out the menu before going
This is one strategy I always try to implement. Looking ahead of time at the menu can be helpful in knowing what you’re up against and can give you some time beforehand to scout out the healthiest options. Having a knowledge ahead of time of the best options available can help you be less vulnerable to choosing poor options on the spot, and can help you avoid temptation.
Don’t arrive hungry
If you are going to be eating out at a place that is not the healthiest, make sure to not arrive hungry! Hunger increases temptation and diminishes willpower. Instead, make sure to eat a small meal prior to going, to guarantee you can choose the best option and then eat a small portion.
If you can’t eat before you go, have a healthy snack on hand that you can nibble on prior to, or even during, your meal.
Understand you might not be eating ideally, but this doesn’t mean to throw your hands up in the air and say “I’m eating badly anyway I might as well go all out.” When it comes to our health, every little difference matters. So, don’t give in and go all out!
Skip the chips and bread baskets
These “finger foods” many restaurants provide prior to your meal coming are some of the worst offenders to our health. They tend to be highly processed and cooked in less-than-ideal ways. Common finger foods include fried corn chips, white breads, and other completely nutrient lacking foods. Stay away from these foods, sipping on your water instead, while waiting for your meal.
Split your meal
Rather than feeling like you should eat the whole thing, either split the meal with someone you’re with, or have the waiter bring you a to-go box along with your meal and put half of it in the to-go box right away. This will help keep you from over-indulging and over-eating, especially when the food quality is poor.
Avoid processed drinks
Stick to water! Ordering beverages such as juice, soda pop, or others provide absolutely no health benefit at all. In fact, they actually harm your health! Avoiding any unhealthful and sugar containing drink in and of itself is a great way to make your dining out experience healthier.
Order your meal with certain specifications
Many restaurants can cater to your requests to make a dish more healthful. You can do things such as ordering the sauce on the side or ordering a side of vegetables instead of potatoes, or asking for different replacements. Don’t be afraid to ask! Furthermore, don’t be afraid to ask specific questions about what is in the dish itself, don’t assume something is healthy because it looks or sounds like it, many bad ingredients such as vegetable oil or sugar can be easily sneaked in.
Make adjustments to your meal
If certain specifications can’t always be met when ordering your food, you can still make adjustments to your plate yourself. Things such as removing the bun can improve the health quality of the dish.
Don’t be afraid to communicate to your group your health and wellness goals, and your desire to eat as healthily as possible. Chances are, you’re not alone. Get support and communicate well so others understand your position. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your commitment to your health!
Always choose the healthiest methods of cooking:
As much as possible, choose baked or grilled over fried, steamed over sautéed, etc. Never consume fried, breaded, or other terrible versions of food.
As much as possible, substitute for veggies and plant-based foods! Always ask for a side salad, vegetable soup, a side of steamed veggies or other such things. Load up on these foods first before digging in to anything else.
These are some top tips and methods for helping you be prepared and be confident in maintaining your health objectives, even when having to eat out!