Help! I have to go out to eat. What do I do?
Lunch and/or dinner out, socializing at friend’s houses, and business travel all can often mean “too much” food and drink. Most of the time, it’s hard to refuse. Often you’re forced to eat when you’re really not even hungry. Eating doesn’t have to do you in. Carefully controlled eating can fit right into your weight loss and weight maintenance programs. If you follow these guidelines you are sure to find that eating out can be just as fun & nutritious as eating at home.
There is an interesting study that shows that people tend to mirror each other when we go out to eat. If you order first, before everyone else starts to order, then you might actually set the tone for the table to order healthier options. If it is not possible to order first, then mentally pre-order and set your menu down, don’t let other’s choices influence your own.
Know your red flags. When you sit down to order, avoid food with descriptions of creamy, crispy, fried, breaded or smothered. Instead, you want to opt for foods that are grilled, steamed or broiled. Those choices are generally going to be a healthier cooking method.
Don’t be afraid to ask the server questions about food preparation. You’re entitled. You wouldn’t buy a dress without trying it on first. Ask your server to make changes where necessary. Replace unhealthy sides, such as French fries for steamed vegetables. If you know that there is going to be a sauce loaded with calories, ask that it be brought on the side. You tend to eat less of it that way. Though some dressings are fat free and can be healthy, restaurants tend to give us 2 – 3 times the amount that we actually need for a serving. Always ask for your dressing on the side and do the “fork tine trick”. Dip the tips of your fork in the dressing, then stab your salad. It’s just enough to get the flavor without all the extra calories. With dressings on top, the calories can really add up.
Knowing how to judge a portion size can help us stick to the actual amounts that we need for our individual programs. If you’re ordering pasta, a good rule of thumb is to not eat more than the size of your fist. If you’re eating meat, try not to eat more than the size of the palm of your hand. Another alternative is to order an appetizer as your meal, the portion size will be smaller.
A restaurant serving can usually feed two people. At the beginning of the meal, ask your server for a to-go box. Put half the meal in the box right away and take it home with you. If food is in front of us, we tend to pick at it and eventually finish it, even when we are already full. Especially if we are with friends and waiting for them to finish.
You’ve heard it before, many times at NuYou from the coaches, but when we eat too fast, we often eat too much. It takes 15 minutes for your brain to even realize that your body is full. Slow down. Enjoy your food, enjoy the company of those who are dining with you. Try setting your fork down between bites, sip your water, make conversation. It may take a little practice, but it does make for a more leisurely meal.
It’s easy to forget the calories from the drink we order, whether it’s a cocktail, alcoholic beverage or a glass of iced tea. One serving of sweetened iced tea can have as much as 200 -250 calories per glass. A glass of wine is around 150 calories, and some mixed drinks can be as much as or over 350 calories. Drink water with your meal. Water helps to fill you up, so we tend to consume less alcohol.
Bring along your toothbrush and mint toothpaste or minty breath mints/mouthwash. Excuse yourself from the table and brush your teeth or rinse your mouth. The mint taste is so refreshing and can be sweet. It can be satisfying after a meal. One thing it surely will do is make a dessert not taste so great, so it can be used as a trick not to indulge in after meal treats.
Pay more attention to the menu, go for the broiled, not the fried and always start with a salad. It will help to fill you up quicker and it will ensure that you get enough vegetables in. If you are going to dine out or at a friend’s house, know that it may be a struggle. Lack of willpower, in a peer type setting, can be the biggest downfall of many. Remember, it’s all about choices. We have to be prepared to face those obstacles, temptations, and decide when/if you are going to splurge or if you are going to try your best to stick with healthy choices. Try telling yourself, multiple times if needed, that it is only 1 event of not having what everyone else is to be able to enjoy the rest of your life in a healthier manner. Once you have accomplished your goal and are maintaining well, you can indulge and enjoy foods and cocktails with peers, just remember it needs to be done in moderation.
If you do slip and eat too much, don’t berate yourself. Go back home and walk it off. If it’s too late, you owe it to yourself to do it in the morning after breakfast. Drink extra water for the next few days to help flush out any extra sodium or toxins from alcohol.