7) Don’t forget you can customize your plate!
Usually when I eat out, I like to enjoy the dish the way the brilliant chef designed it to be. However, there are times when I don’t want chips or fries on the side, and I would rather splurge somewhere else. In those instances I always ask for a different side option and most restaurants are accommodating! You can always get some sort of vegetable or salad instead of the chips, French fries, or mashed potatoes. Don’t forget you have control when it comes to whether your meat is grilled, fried, breaded, etc. Opt for grilled when that is available. You can also ask for extra greens instead of a grain base if you’re feeling like really lightening it up. Go into the situation with a game plan, knowing you always have options to “healthify” your meal!
8) Walk more, sit less
This one may seem super simple, but I find it makes a big difference! As this directly ties in to eating out, try parking far away from the restaurant so that you get a little walk in before and after your meal. If there’s a wait at the restaurant, walk around while you wait rather than sitting on the waiting bench. If you have a lunch break at work, take a walk! These are just good healthy habits to incorporate into your daily life. Train yourself to walk more, stand more, and sit less, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you. (Get my tips for more daily activity here)
9) Cut out the Extra - Unnecessary Calories
When dining out, most of us will end up eating more calories than we anticipate. These sneaky calories come from the bread basket, the basket of chips, the bottomless fries, the extra sauce, the drink, the loaded dressing… the list goes on. Most of these “extras” aren’t going to make or break our eating out experience, but it’s just there so we eat it. Unless it’s a restaurant that’s known for its fresh, homemade bread, then I'm passing on the bread basket. The bottomless chips & salsa at Mexican restaurants is one of my down falls for sure. I try to drink lots of water and wait until my meal gets there at least before I go to town on the chips. When ordering a salad, always ask for your dressing on the side (they typically put double the dressing than I would ever put on my own). Also, avoid the tasteless liquid calories. One glass of lemonade has over 50 g of sugar!! By cutting out these unnecessary extras, you can focus on the good stuff and still leave feeling satisfied.
10) Learn to Live the Moderation Life
For me, the key to living a healthy lifestyle and staying fit while eating out comes down to moderation. I know this word may seem a bit overused, but just hear me out. I often have clients tell me that they are “all or nothing” and they could never just stop at 2 bites, but I’m not buying it. I believe you can train yourself to be a moderator. It may take some practice at first, training yourself to stop when you may want to mindlessly keep going. When we master moderation, we can enjoy a night out on occasion, we can have a few bites of dessert, we exercise a healthy amount, we have the desire to move more, and we don’t have to feel guilty or depressed after a little indulgence. (read more on my views about moderation here)
Food shouldn’t be feared, it should be enjoyed. It is fuel for our body to do all of the amazing things it’s capable of doing! The more we embrace this perspective, the easier it is to adapt to a life of healthy moderation.