Whether you just can’t find the time to cook and prepare your own meals, or you simply just prefer to dine out, you probably understand that it’s tough to maintain a healthy diet when you’re eating out. Fortunately, in the past few years, there have been tons of restaurants that have started offering, or even specialize in, healthy options. Check out my tricks to keeping my figure when eating out.
Focus On Your Proteins & Veggies
Carbs are delicious, but odds are, you and I both enjoy way more carbs than our bodies need. What I like to do is try to incorporate as much vegetables as I can as my carbohydrate source. Not only does that keep my energy levels strong, but also helps me meet my micro-nutrient needs. If you’re someone who believes that you and vegetables will never be able to get along, my recommendation is to keeping trying different types until you find ones that you can enjoy. A couple of my personal favorites are pea sprouts, arugula, and basil.
I find that protein is the most under appreciated nutrient out of the macros. Anyone who exercises can probably tell you about protein’s key role in repairing muscle tissue, but in addition, it also does a great job in helping to keep you full for longer. If you’ve ever eaten a big meal of mainly bread, rice, or pasta, then an hour later you feel the urge to eat again, you know first hand how carbohydrates digest much quicker than protein – especially if your carbs are lacking fiber. If you feel that your meals contain excess carbohydrates, try increasing your protein consumption and see how it feels.
This here is the one I struggle with the most, but I admit is so incredibly important. Even if your diet consists of healthy, nutritious foods, overeating can still put you in a caloric surplus – which then can lead to all sorts of problems.
My primary defense against overeating would be staying away from options that I feel are easier to binge on such as breads, pastas, rice, or noodles. Another great tip I’ve heard of is asking for a take out box with the food to separate it into two portions.
Skip The Drink
As an avid fan of craft beers, this one kills me, but unless you’re eating out for a special location, skip the drink please. In most cases, nothing good comes from having an extra drink that’s loaded with sugars, fats, or alcohol. Instead, try to have an unsweetened tea, coffee, or lemon water. Regular sugar consumption stunts the reactivity of your tastes buds, so if you can learn to cut down on the sugars completely, these unsweetened options will definitely start opening up in flavor for you.
As a high school kid, I absolutely loved soda. In fact, I would down a double gulp and hot dog from 711 almost every single weekday. Somewhere down the line, I decided that I wanted to take control of my health and cut out sugars from my diet. Ever since I’ve made that change, I’ve learned to enjoy many more foods and drinks for their quality, rather than their sweetness.
Do Your Research
If you fail to plan, then you’re planning to fail.
As cliche as that sounds, it’s pretty damn true now that I think about it. It’s not even always about following the plan, but just outlining a direction and process of how you will get from where you are to where you want to be. Although planning out possible eating options doesn’t seem all that big of a deal, you’ll notice not having to struggle with decision-making when all you see in front of you are fast food joints and steakhouses.
For anyone that knows me, you’ll have noticed that the only food I ever seem to grab when I’m out is Chipotle. I’m a huge fan of their simple ingredients and ease of customization. Although I will say that the biggest drawback for me is the high sodium content. I feel that not every ingredient requires it’s own serving of salt.
Give Yourself A Break
As important as it is to be mindful of your health and wellness, life wouldn’t be the same if you cut out the treat that you crave on occasion. What I always like to tell my clients is to shoot for eating well 85-90%, and then just enjoy yourselves for the rest. I remember there was a point in my life where I was so obsessed with the notion of healthy eating that at one point I got fed up and thought “what the hell am I even doing this for?” Truth is, unless you’re trying to perfect your physique or compete in some event, it’s completely okay to let go and enjoy yourself routinely. I’ll tell you from experience that it’s much better than feeling like you’ve missed out and then regretting it later on.