Whether it’s because you travel a lot or are just too busy to shop and cook, some of us spend more meals dining out than eating at home.
I used to have this problem. My weight suffered because of it and then I got a grip.
If you want to keep in shape and eat out often here are some friendly words of advice:
- It’s a meal not a party. Part of the problem for me was that if I was dining out or ordering in, I looked at it as an event. I would not eat as extravagantly if I was cooking at home, so why was I all of the sudden, ordering things with cheese on top or fries on the side? I look at dining out differently now. If it’s not a special occasion then it’s just an easier meal. That means, healthy choices, sauces and dressings on the side, grilled not fried. If I’m celebrating an event then, I might loosen up the rules a bit otherwise I eat as lean and clean as possible.
- Keep it simple. Don’t let the menu sidetrack you. Focus on items that are simple. Grilled chicken over a salad, a veggie burger on a whole grain bun, broiled fish with vegetables. Skip sides like fries, extras like cheese and mayo-based spreads.
- Speak up. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to make requests. Find out if the chicken is grilled ‘dry’ or if they use added oils. Get your dressings on the side and find out if there are healthy alternatives available.
- Cyber surf. Before heading out, head to your computer. Many restaurants (particularly fast food and chain restaurants) not only offer their menus online but provide nutritional information as well. This can be your best friend. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I was making a healthy choice only to look up the listed nutritional information and find I had consumed 3 times the calories and fat I thought I was.
- Put blinders on. Ideally you’ll know what you want before sitting down or placing your order. Maybe you’ve dined there before or looked the place up online. Go in with your plan and stick to it. Don’t let the excitement of the moment, aromas of the place and the grumble in your tummy sway you from making your healthy choice into a spur-of-the moment, caloric treat!
What do you do to keep in shape and on-track when you eat out?