Eating Out for Health and Enjoyment

Eating Out for Health and Enjoyment

May 08, 20244 min read

Eating Out for Health and Enjoyment

Do you find yourself on the go and grabbing lunch or dinner out at a restaurant?  It can feel very confusing trying to pick the best choices, especially when you are starving, can’t it?

Here are a few tips that should help make that easier, so you can still take care of your health and that growl in your tummy.

1.     This is IMPORTANT!  Do not eat anywhere you can stay in your car the entire time.  Drive-thru restaurants are going to have some of the poorest quality foods.  Think about it for a second.  They have all of it precooked sitting in a steam bath waiting for someone to order it.  Then in 30 seconds or less, you have an entire meal hot and in your hands.  (Don’t kid yourself, you know you get ticked off when it is not ready when you pull up to the window and you have to wait.)

Get out of your car for 2 reasons:

1. Get a few feet of exercise. (It may be all you get through the day) 

2.  You should make a better decision if you can see the entire menu vs. just the value meals and have the pressure of an entire line of cars behind you.

2.     When you are going to a restaurant look online at the nutrition facts of meals ahead of time.  Then you can make an educated decision vs. looking at food that “sounds like it might be healthy” like the Oriental Chicken Salad at Applebee’s.  It only takes a minute and is so valuable!

3.     Never walk into a restaurant starving. This is a time when you make some of the poorest decisions. Everything looks delicious and you could eat anything, so you will tend to over-order and then eat all of it before your stomach ever has a chance to tell your brain you are full. (Which would have been 1/3-1/2 of the way through)

A simple solution is to have a small bag of raw almond in your car or purse, so you can take the edge off your hunger and enjoy your meal to the fullest.

4.     When ordering, tell the waiter what you would like to eat, regardless if it is on the menu or not. Look to make sure the ingredients are on it, but then create your own meal.

I do this frequently.  When you go out to eat, look at the protein choices and look at the vegetable choices.  Typically, you can almost always find some type of grilled chicken, fish, or steak.  Start there, then add as many vegetables as possible.  I will look over the menu, find as many different types as possible, and ask them to be added to my plate.

I met a new friend out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant last Friday.  I looked over all of the menu options and there were a ton.  I selected the fajitas and asked instead of the beans and rice, if they could add more veggies instead.  They were happy to oblige.  Many times, you just need to ask.

I have done the same thing with Breakfast.  I will order an omelet and ask for additional veggies to be added instead of toast and potatoes.  You consume much less simple carbs that sabotage your weight loss and you will stay fuller longer because you have more content you are eating as well as stabilizing your blood sugar.

5.     If you are going to indulge in something less than healthy, do it mindfully and/or split it with someone.  I have to admit I still love chocolate cake and French fries, but I do not order them for myself.  I will steal a couple of fries off of my daughter’s plate or a friend’s occasionally, but I just do not want to waste food or personally eat that much greasy food.

The chocolate cake is a different story.  I absolutely could in the right situation eat the whole thing, but probably wouldn’t.  I would like to draw that indulgence over the course of several days/meals.

You only really get the taste satisfaction for the first 3 bites, after that it all tastes the same.  So, why not enjoy it to the fullest?  Truth be told, I would probably still split a dessert with a friend, enjoy a few bites, and then take the rest home to enjoy tomorrow or the next day.

Choose where you are going to indulge and really make sure you enjoy it!  Do not waste your indulgences on something that is not truly delicious simply because it is convenient.  If you want that juicy burger loaded with everything, consider sharing it with someone or taking ½ home and having some vegetables instead of the fries so you are still nourishing your body and giving it some fuel.

Remember, live by the 90/10 rule and your body will love you for it!

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