Let’s be honest: We all have those days where the last thing we feel like doing is preparing a meal. Or maybe we have that trip we’ve been looking forward to, and we know that eating out will be inevitable. So, when eating out becomes the best option, it’s important that we find ways to stay on track with our goals. Here are three things to keep in mind to help you feel more confident when eating out outside of your reset meal.
Be prepared: As in many aspects of living a healthy lifestyle, if you are prepared, you have no need to fear. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re prepared to make the best decisions when you go out to eat.
- Know your terms: The food descriptions on a menu usually do a good job of showing you the healthiest options. However, in order to know what those options are when you see them, you have to know what terms to look for and be wary of. Look for options that have descriptions like the following:grilled, steamed, broiled, baked, roasted, braised, poached, rubbed, seared, sautéed, spiced, seasoned, boiled, fresh, marinated, multi-grain, stir-fried, andwhole wheat. On the other hand,stay away from menu options with the following descriptions:fried, deep fried, tempura, glazed, crispy, buttered, creamed, stuffed, battered, bisque, breaded, crunchy, fritter, scalloped, smothered, loaded, creamy, sticky, honey-dipped, bottomless, andcountry style.
- Know before you go: Whether you are deciding to go out to eat in your area or in an area unknown to you, you can utilize technology to know what you are going to eat before you even get to a restaurant. Look up what restaurants are close to you, look up their menus (most will have nutrition facts for each meal as well), and decide before you even get there what you will be ordering. Then, when you are surrounded by the amazing smells or see meals others have ordered, it will be easier to order the meal you have already purposefully chosen.
- Have a few “go-to” restaurants: Sometimes eating out is purely for the social experience, so keep in mind a couple of places you’ve been to or that you know have a wide variety of good options. Then, if these social situations arise, you’ll have some places you can suggest. Luckily there are places that promote healthy eating, so try them out and see if others want to try them as well.
Be ready to modify: You will likely experience a situation where no full meal on the menu sounds like a good option. If this is the case, you’ll want to be ready to modify an order. You may need to ask questions about how the food is being cooked or what it is being cooked in, and you can take a look at the side options that are available and ask to switch one for another. Don’t be afraid to talk with your waiter! They are usually very willing to make sure you have the best experience.
Be aware of your portions: Another difficult thing about going out to eat is the amount of food that is given in a meal. What is considered a normal portion size at most restaurants has gotten bigger over time, and these large portion sizes make it easy to overeat. Do what you can to avoid overeating. Here are some ideas on how to do that:
- If you are with someone who wants the same meal, you might consider sharing (which will also save you money!).
- Ask for a take-out box right away and box up half your meal before digging in.
- Eat slowly and try to drink more water throughout your meal. This will allow your body to feel satisfied before getting through the whole meal, and then you can take whatever is left home.
- And, as difficult as this may be, if you go to a restaurant that has an endless free appetizer, it might be best to ask that they don’t bring it out.
Whether for a reset meal or not, eating out should be an experience you can enjoy. So, the next time you go out to eat, think about these tips and see what will work best for you. Leave the worry at home and be confident in your ability to make good nutrition choices no matter where you go.