Since many of us lead pretty busy lives and are often required to travel for business, kids’ sporting events and more, routinely eating away from home has become more popular and can at times present somewhat of a challenge.
While it may be nice to just sit down and have a meal served to you without any effort on your part, doing so regularly can wreak havoc on any plans you have to eat real food on a consistent basis and/or maintain a healthy weight.
If you’re not fully convinced, consider that the average restaurant meal has quadrupled in size since the 1950s. Quadrupled. Add to this the idea that you are likely to eat as much as 35% more when around friends/colleagues due to losing track of how much food you’ve consumed or the fact that you’re already full…and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. No pun intended.
So if dining out is something you do fairly frequently, check out the following tips in order to eat real food as often as you possibly can when control over the menu is out of your hands.
1. Don’t go out to eat feeling super hungry. In other words, don’t skip meals all day long and then expect to make good choices on low blood sugar.
2. Skip the bread and chip baskets! Because let’s be honest — trying to limit the amount you consume of anything that comes in a basket can be extremely difficult.
3. Ask for your food to be cooked in butter or even olive oil.
4. Skip fried foods and opt for baked instead (potatoes etc.).
5. Scan the menu for a clean protein first and then build your carb choices (mainly fruits and veggies) around it.
6. Share your dessert.
7. Limit alcohol consumption. Try to stick to 1 drink or less with dinner.
8. Take it home. If you are served a large portion of food, have them box ½ your plate before you even start eating. Out of sight, out of mind.
9. Try to pick restaurants that serve local foods. If you live in the Madison area, check out this link on my site for a list of local options. Or if you’re on the road, you can use websites like this one that will show you restaurants near the area code of wherever you’re traveling that serve local/healthy food.
10. If possible, use the idea of dining out as a TREAT, not something you do all the time. My clients that have weight loss goals but dine out frequently often struggle the most.
11. Be grateful and give thanks before you dig in!
12. Remember to enjoy your food with friends/family and don’t overly focus if you can’t eat perfectly each and every time!