Sticking to a specific diet is simple, yet it’s not necessarily easy. Most people are firmly aware of the fact that eating a diet consisting of mostly whole foods such as lean proteins, veggies, fruits and whole grains is the most simplistic way of maintaining a healthy diet. Managing caloric intake and macronutrient intake helps you take it a step further ensuring that you stay within a specified caloric intake.
However, one of the most common issues people have with diets involve eating out. Eating out can be challenging for a number of reasons. First off, it can be difficult to manage and track caloric intake while eating out if you don’t know the exact ingredients being put into your food. Second off, it requires willpower to choose a healthy option when there’s several other unhealthy foods available on the menu.
In this piece, we’ll dive into how you can stay on track even while you’re eating out.
Look at the Menu Ahead of Time
Before going to a new restaurant, it can always help to review the menu ahead of time. The vast majority of restaurants today have their menus online and many of them even list the caloric content. Checking the menu beforehand can give you peace of mind knowing what you’re going to order before you get there. That way you won’t be stuck scouring for healthier options last minute.
Instead of looking through menus filled with double cheeseburgers, fries, milkshakes and more – you’ll already know that you’re going to be ordering a lettuce wrapped chicken sandwich or a salad with dressing on the side. That’s not to say that meals always have to be inherently healthy, there can always be room for less healthy options in moderation.
The key to any successful diet is to have a plan and stick to it.
Don’t Starve Yourself
Many people come to restaurants starving and end up eating large portions of food. You may end up filling up on chips and salsa, bread, or any other types of appetizers before you even order your food.
Try to give yourself more flexibility by eating healthier throughout the remainder of the day. If you have a special dinner planned, focus on consuming high protein, high fiber meals that contain voluminous food options such as veggies that are low in calories. An example of this would be having an egg white omelet with veggies for breakfast and chicken and broccoli for lunch. Obviously this is an oversimplification, but you get the idea.
Consuming mostly protein earlier throughout the day will provide you with a greater ability to have additional fats and carbohydrates for dinner. You can even consume a protein shake prior to your meal to help fill you up and avoid overeating.
Make Your Order Healthy
Many menu options can be made healthy by a few simple modifications. Just take a closer look at the ingredients and see what areas can be modified without sacrificing taste or quality. Perhaps you want a burger meal at a local restaurant. Instead of getting the cheeseburger with dressing, mayo and bacon – get a lettuce wrapped burger without the toppings. Then substitute the fries with a salad. Skip out on the milkshake and simply drink water.
Salads can often be a trap calorie wise. Many people tend to think just because there’s lettuce, it means it’s healthy. Be sure to choose a low calorie or vinaigrette dressing and take off the croutons. Limit other high calorie ingredients such as bacon and cheese as well. All of these minor changes can help you save hundreds of calories off a meal without changing the taste.
Another common mistake is that many menu items are fried or cooked in oil or butter. Asking for items to be baked instead of fried or cooked without oil can also save hundreds of calories. Once you get a better understanding of how macronutrients work you can make simple modifications that result in a better diet overall.
Limit the Appetizers and Sides
Many places offer free appetizers upon sitting down such as garlic bread, chips and salsa, and more. These items all tend to be very carb heavy with little to no protein or nutritional content. If you do want an appetizer, try to opt for a high protein, low-carb option such as shrimp, ceviche, or some type of lean protein.
Sides can also be high in calories. The fries with your burger, the refried beans with your taco, or the chips with your sandwich all add up in calories fast. Eliminating these sides in favor of a salad or vegetable option can provide similar food volume without all the extra calories.
Doing each of these small changes can result in big savings in the calorie bank.
Limit or Share Desserts
Most people enjoy desserts from time to time and there’s nothing wrong with that. Some chocolate cake or a scoop of ice cream can satisfy the sweet tooth in a pinch. It can also add up to substantial calories.
While you don’t have to completely eliminate desserts from your diet, you should do your best to limit them. Try to go for a cup of fruit instead of the monster piece of chocolate cake. If you have several people at the same table, try splitting the desert between multiple people. The vast majority of people do not need an entire piece of chocolate cake to themselves, a couple of bites will suffice in suppressing that sweet tooth craving.
Stay on Track, Even While Eating Out
Cooking food at home can oftentimes make it easier to stay on track with dieting since you’re overseeing every element that goes into your food. However, that doesn’t always have to be the case. You can still maintain a healthy diet if you make the proper food choices even while going out.
Simply follow some of the guidance we’ve provided here and you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of eating out while still staying healthy. We’re here to help guide you on the journey every step of the way. Stay on track with your dietary goals and still enjoy the social benefits of eating out.
If you have any additional questions or need some guidance when it comes to eating out, feel free to reach out to us. We’re here to help support you every step of the way.