No matter what the eating-away-from-home scenario, don’t let dining out spell disaster for your commitment to healthy eating. Despite what many of us with a “diet mentality” think, there are ways to enjoy a meal while dining out without wrecking your dieting and exercise efforts.
When it comes to being out to lunch (or dinner), there are some helpful tips that will come in handy the next time you’re facing a restaurant menu:
Before You Arrive:
Try munching on a quarter cup of healthy nuts like Raw Cashews or Raw Almonds (no oil, no salt, no roasting). These protein-powered munchies will actually help fill you up before the meal and, therefore, make some of the restaurant’s more fattening options less tempting. You don’t need too many nuts to do the trick. So make sure you measure the quarter cup portion so you’re not adding too many calories to your total lunch intake.
Start Your Engines:
Soup or salad can be the perfect way to begin a meal. Make sure soups are vegetable based with no dairy (this can often translate to no fat). Also, ask for salad dressing on the side. Try dipping your fork in the dressing before putting it in the salad. You’ll get all the flavor without all the calories.
Words to the Wise:
Menus often contain key words you want to watch out for: Grilled or Broiled. These are usually safe bets, although you should always ask for the item to be delivered “plain” (no added oil, butter or fat). And be sure to avoid these menu warning words: Sautéed, Creamed or Fried (in other words, “Just say No” to any dishes that begin with these diet-busting key words).
Be Loud, Be Proud:
You have nothing to be embarrassed of when it comes to making a special request while dining out. Remember that there’s absolutely no shame in eating healthy and asking your server to keep the starchy sides (rice, potatoes, etc.) off of your plate. You don’t have to explain to anyone you’re dining with what you’re doing. After ordering, just offer a smile of confidence that will come from knowing you’re making healthy decisions that are going to keep you committed to your goal (not to mention keep you looking good and feeling great).
And remember: for all your dining companions know, you’re not on a diet – you’re a supermodel who has to walk the runway later that afternoon, which, by the way, you are and do. (I proclaim it to be so for anyone reading this!)
No doubt about it. Restaurant survival is an important part of being healthy for life. And learning to take the fear out of dining out is a major step toward total overall health (mental and physical). That success entails learning, adapting and breaking old habits. And together, we can do it!
(Feel free to share a recent success if you have one – or even a challenge… We’re all in this together!)