How To Eat Healthy When Eating Out
With these easy to implement tips on how to eat healthy when eating out you're going to crush goals, stay on track, and be able to indulge in your lifestyle all at the same time. Sound too good to be true? Think again! As your coach, we try our best to take the guesswork out of it, but what happens when you go out to eat? Depending on where you’re at in your journey, this can be a daunting task! Often so daunting, you avoid going all together or you go and overdo it, feeling like poo thereafter. So where is the in-between and how can you find it, so that you stay on track while feeling social and indulgent at dinner? Let's dig in to learn more.
Quick View - What To and Not To Do
How To Eat Healthy When Out: The Do's
- Skip the breadbasket
- Fill up on vegetables
- Choose entrees without breading
- Ask about side dish alternatives
- Share a spoonful of dessert
- Take-home food for a later meal
How To Eat Healthy When Out: The Do not's
- Sit near chips, pretzels, nuts, or crackers
- Order entrees that are breaded, crispy, or crusted
- Load up on sugary salad dressings
- Eat potatoes as a side dish
- Deny yourself a sweet treat at the end of your meal
How To Eat Healthy When Eating Out: Plan Ahead
Did you know most restaurants have their menu on Yelp or on their website online? This makes it easy to plan ahead so you don’t have to wonder how to eat healthy when out. We recommend taking a look at the menu before you go, look at the pictures, and decide what you want before you arrive at the restaurant. Not only does this help you not feel the pressure of making a decision, but it also helps you enjoy the people in front of you or save some time while you’re there. By having fewer choices, you’ll be more apt to make a calculated decision rather than an impulsive one, leaving you feeling gratified and satisfied afterward. Talk about a win!
What happens when the menu isn’t available? Well, first off, don’t fret. Keep reading the following tips so that you’re prepared to make a decision from a place of self-trust and intuition, based on what you’ve learned from your TSK coaching experience, rather than an impulsive and overly-indulgent one.
How To Eat Healthy When Eating Out: Choose Location Wisely
If you have a say in where you’re going to eat, try to choose a place that has food similar to what you’re used to eating at home. Boring? Think again! Not only will the food not totally bomb your gut, but you will be more on track with your numbers and what you’d be programmed from your coach. For example, if you don’t usually eat pasta, an Italian joint probably shouldn’t be your first go-to. If you are trying to limit refined carbohydrates and oils, then a Mexican restaurant isn’t probably the best, either. How to eat healthy when out? Choose that location wisely!
That being said, believe it or not, it is absolutely possible to make a healthy choice at just about any restaurant, but it will take practice. Until you feel trusting with yourself and your willpower, we don’t necessarily suggest putting yourself in a compromising position when ordering food, until you’re more versed in your options. Talk about a walk with temptation you probably don’t want to walk. Make it easy for yourself a choose somewhere that’s similar. For now - opt for a food joint that uses simple ingredients and items, rather than something that emphasizes lots of ingredients, for example.
As far as fast-food restaurants go, give these special considerations before you go. In general, it’s best to avoid these altogether. With practice, you can spot healthier options, but often, in the beginning, these are going to be a major challenge. Are you opting for them because they’re convenient? Then change the narrative on what food is ‘convenient’ and challenge yourself to either make it home, head to the grocery store, or grab takeout from a restaurant that uses more simple ingredients and food items.
How To Eat Healthy When Eating Out: Order With Confidence
Check it out - you can actually customize just about any order. How to eat healthy when out starts with ordering with confidence and knowing what you want. Asking for special preparations and prep methods might get an eye-roll from your server, but it’s their job to serve you what you want and how you want it. The kitchen has anything and everything you can imagine, even more than your kitchen at home, so if you want to ask for a grilled chicken breast rather than a fried one, you got it, pal! Definitely important to get comfortable with asking for things like this, because ultimately, you’re the one paying the bill and eating the food. Makes sense when you put it that way, eh?
If they can’t make it work, find a happy medium. Nothing is worse than eating something you don’t want.
Chances are you chose the restaurant because of their food, not their free appetizer. Best case scenario? Ask them to hold these. Sure, you might have an emotional connection to having the free chips and salsa because they’re free (dopamine rush, free things, save money, grow the waistline without knowing it, spend money on dinner and not eat it because you’re too full… see what’s happening here?). Especially when you’re hungry, you’re going to eat anything in front of you. So if you can, opt-out.
You can always order appetizer(s) as entrees, so keep this in mind next time you see something tempting. Try to round out your meal if you’re going to do appetizers, as they often come full of starch and fat. Order a vegetable and meat, for example.
Lastly, most appetizers are more in line with proper portion sizes than entrees, which make them nice to mix and match.
Most places offer some pretty good salad options, but here’s the trick - always get the dressing on the side, then dip the salad in the dressing. Restaurant servings of condiments, like salad dressing, come in 2-3 serving sizes, which can pack on an extra 200-400 calories for just the dressing! Yikes.
Another unnecessary calorie adder - fried toppings and dried fruit. How to eat healthy when out? Avoid these.
If you don’t like any of the salad options, pick a sandwich, wrap, or burrito that looks good and ask for the innards to be put on top of a green salad instead of a bun or wrap. Why? You’ll be able to eat more, feel better, and stay on track.
When trying to figure out what to eat, try to opt for an entree that has a sufficient amount of protein and vegetables before carbs. We definitely recommend avoiding items that are breaded and/or fried/deep-fried. Not because of the carbs necessarily, but because of the hydrogenated and inflammatory oils that they’re made in.
Most entrees come with side dishes. Most of these side dishes are made with cheap ingredients, like potatoes, beans, or rice. Often they’re a value add and don’t contribute many nutrients so that it seems like you’re getting more bang for your buck. You can always add more protein or vegetables to a meal, and sub fruit or greens instead of potato-based sides.
Ah, dessert. How to eat healthy when out? Avoid the crazy big piece of cake and split it instead. We love to have it, then usually afterward, feel too full and over indulgent. The guilt sets in and we get wound up on sugar as we leave to go home. Dang, the chocolate cake got us again! However, if you’re hankering for a sweet, we recommend splitting it with the table. This not only makes the experience more enjoyable but helps satisfy your want without overdoing it.
Takeaway: How To Eat Healthy When Eating Out
Look, eating out can absolutely be a part of your plan. Whether you're working on aesthetic, performance, health, or a little bit of all of those, you should definitely still partake in your social life and enjoy a bite to eat once in a while. With these tips we hope that you feel confident and excited to eat out, instead of powerless, restricted, and confused.
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