6 Tips For Staying Healthy And Sticking To Your Goals When Eating Out
We live in a food-driven culture.
We use food to celebrate everything from birthdays to graduations to promotions — the list goes on.
If you’ve recently changed your eating habits or your overall lifestyle, navigating these food-focused social events can be tricky. But that doesn’t mean you need to become BFFs with your couch every weekend and forgo these situations altogether. In fact, doing so is both unrealistic and unhealthy in the long run.
Below are some tips and habits that will help set you up for success while maneuvering your social calendar.
Eat a little something before you go.
Having a snack ahead of time not only saves you money but also decreases the chances of you making a rash decision because you’re starving. Eating something on the smaller side before heading out will bring your brain out of that cheesecake cloud of dreams, back to a choice that aligns with your goals. Aim for protein and veggies so you can get in some solid nutrients before the event.
Take a look at the menu ahead of time.
Take a look at the menu beforehand and pick a few items that work for you. Then design your meal around those options. Taking the time to do this in advance, without the added pressure of your friends or a server, allows you to identify foods that fit into your game plan. If there are none, use the advanced notice to suggest going elsewhere.
Pick one or two “treats” for yourself.
When dining out, pick one or two items you’d really like to treat yourself too. For example you’ve been eyeballing that chocolate lava cake at the table across from yours, so perhaps you don’t get that bacon cheeseburger too.
Other good rules of thumb to follow include choosing lean protein sources and opting for items that are “baked,” broiled,” or “grilled” rather than “fried” or “sauteed.” Since sauces and condiments often contain lots of hidden sugar, ask for them on the side. That way, you can choose how much you’d like to add to your meal. The bottom line is? Figure out what “fun foods” are important to you, and design your meal around that.
Don’t hide your efforts.
For whatever reason, those who are trying to lose weight or adopt a healthier lifestyle often end up making excuses or hiding their newfound habits out of embarrassment. No one — especially not your friends — should ever make you feel ashamed for wanting to live a healthier lifestyle. Instead, they should encourage you to do so, and you in turn should be proud that you’re trying to be the best version of yourself. Embracing this new part of your life will likely inspire others to follow suit rather than make you feel uncomfortable.
Ask for a to-go box ahead of time.
Portion sizes in many restaurants. are astronomical and go far beyond the needs of one person in a single meal. Restaurants do all sorts of things to make their food taste better than what you’d cook at home, so once you’ve taken that first bite of your meal, it can be tough to stop yourself before you polish the whole dish off. To avoid this, when you order, ask your server to bring you a to-go box with your meal. That way, you can wrap some up to take home for later before you dig in.
Limit or avoid alcohol.
Alcoholic beverages — specifically sugary mixed drinks — can add a surprising number of calories to your day. They can also cloud your judgment and make you either forget your goals or consciously throw them to the wayside. Keep in mind that alcohol is often referred to as “empty calories,” meaning that the calories you’re getting from alcohol have no nutritional value. Approach social situations with a limit in your head, or skip the drinks altogether and opt for calories that are nutritious and fit in better with what you’re trying to accomplish.