9 tips for staying healthy while eating out
- Mindful Priming
I always tell my clients, and those close to me, to prime your mind or prepare yourself for what’s about to happen.
You can prepare by journaling or writing down what to expect at the restaurant and how you’re going to approach the gathering and/or invite.
If you know you’re going to a business party or family dinner, remind and make yourself very clear that this is a trigger for overindulging. Then exercise the following:
Choice #1 – Ask yourself what you’re going to do differently to avoid the pitfall (bring your own snacks, eat prior, etc.) and/or ask someone to hold you accountable to a certain portion or food choice. Then, take a moment to acknowledge how you feel afterwards.
Choice #2 – Be okay with indulging but DO NOT think twice, dwell or punish yourself afterwards. Enjoy it and then be done with it.
You and your body will thank you when it’s all said and done. There won’t be any need for damage control.
- Check in with your emotions
If you’re hungry, tipsy or tired you’re more than likely going to make some decisions you’ll later regret. So before you go, make sure you’re not putting yourself in a position to unconsciously overindulge.
I have to check in prior to eating with friends or a business meeting because I can get easily caught up in the conversation and, before I know it, I look down and have cleared my whole meal without realizing or chewing it!
Don’t let yourself get too hungry before going out, if you’re tipsy – drink some water or if you’re like me and seem to let yourself get out of control while dining with friends or family, have someone hold you accountable of your portions.
Another tip: If you’re eating out and portion control is your concern, it’s a good idea to kindly ask the waiter/waitress if they would pack of half of your meal (if the portions are large) before serving you.
- Check the menu ahead of time
I love hearing from my clients and reviewing the menu ahead of time. Nowadays, most restaurants have a great, detailed, online menu. So you’ll have no problem eliminating the time spent deciding what you want and you can already have the questions ready that you may have for the waiter.
- Speak up
Don’t be afraid to ask your waitress/waiter questions regarding what oils the food is cooked in or where they source their animal products. Also, let them know if you have any allergies or diet restriction(s).
- Avoid the bread and chips
This goes along with checking the menu ahead of time. You don’t want to start your meal with carbohydrates that are going to spike your blood sugar and having you craving more.
Start with a nice leafy green salad with some lemon juiced on top (the vitamin C helps your body absorb the non-heme iron from the greens) and avocado (for carotenoid absorption) or a brothy soup filled with veggies.
- Drink some room temp or warm lemon water
Politely ask the waiter if they can bring you a warm mug or glass of water and some lemons.
This will get your mind and your body (namely liver) ready for digestion.
- Keep it simple
I always advise to take a look at the a la carte portion first and see if you can pull a couple of things from there in order to get a balanced meal (think greens, healthy fat, fiber and protein). There’s really no need to order off of the menu if you’re having to make multiple changes and/or it’s not meeting your needs.
- Avoid all dressings and sauces.
This is where a lot of unnecessary sugar comes into play. You can always ask if the waiter can place the dressing(s) on the side so you’re in control of exactly how much you’re putting on.
- Remove the judgement
Like I previously said with mindful priming – if you’ve followed all the steps and decided to have a slice (or two) of cheesecake, don’t resort to feeling like your whole day is ruined. It’s absolutely not and it’s OK.
Just remind yourself that your body is resilient and now is not the time to stress. Acknowledge that is was something you made a choice to enjoy and indulge in!