Most people seem to think that eating out at restaurants is somehow synonymous with an unhealthy lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to lose weight or watching your cholesterol, the thought of going into that restaurant often creates an unsettled feeling of capitulation to this commitment we’ve made to ourselves. Whether it’s a fast food joint or an elegant restaurant, most dieters seem to think that it’s pointless to even try and eat good once they’ve walked through those doors.
The good news is that dining out at your favorite restaurant no longer needs to be code for surrender. From hotdog stands to pizzerias, there are lots of little tips and tricks you can use to help keep you on track. We live in a world today where athletes, celebrities, fitness instructors and health-conscious business travelers are forced to eat on the road and stay fit… sometimes 300 days out of the year. If these people can manage to maintain a high level of fitness while eating in restaurants day in and day out, so can you!
In this article, we’re going to look at 10 things you can do to help keep your eating healthy and sensible every time you find yourself walking into another restaurant. Eating healthy meals and keeping yourself slim and fit is a lifestyle, and there’s no reason why this lifestyle of yours should exclude eating at restaurants.
If you are reading this during the holiday season, be sure to read our article to help you survive the party and eating season with your health goals intact. Click here for the full article.
Become A Nutritionist:
I don’t mean literally, but at least become nutritionally savvy. If you really intend to live a healthy lifestyle then you have to educate yourself enough to even think about making good decisions. It won’t happen overnight, but learning as much as you can about the nutritional make-up of the foods you eat is a worthy endeavor. It ain’t rocket science…
Try Food Grouping:
Food grouping is where you select your carb and fat sources based on your protein source. In other words, if the protein source being offered is high in fat, your carb source should be a non-starch or low-glycemic carb. If your protein source is lean and low-fat, then it would be OK to select a carb that’s high-glycemic or more of a starch.
Garnishes On The Side:
Ask your server to kindly place all garnishes, butters and dressings on the side. Heaps of empty calories are directed to our hips every day via salad dressings, butters and sauces piled generously onto our plates.
Ditch The Sugary Drinks:
Ordering a soda or fruit juice is just not a good idea. Juices are generally filled with fructose – which is a fancy name for sugar – and sodas are… well, sodas. Have a diet soda or unsweetened tea if you’d like, but remember, all calories count.
Remove The Burger From Bun:
Same concept as food grouping, just more specific. If I’m really hungry and burgers are the order of the day, I’ll simply tell them to add cheese and hold the mayo. Once served, simply remove the bread and just eat the cheeseburger. Delicious.
Dip Your Fork:
Instead of pouring those calorie-rich dressings, sauces or creams onto your food, keep them on the side and dip your fork into the dish before stabbing your salad or entrée. This little trick gives you the flavor of the dressing/sauce without all the calories.
Pizza In A Cup:
No choice but pizza, huh? Starving, right? No problem: just order thin crust, or remove the crust and only eat the yummy mozzarella, pizza sauce and mushrooms. Remember food grouping? If your protein source (cheese) is high-fat then remove the starchy carb (crust).
Ask The Chef:
Everyone knows that it’s the chef’s job to make each dish delicious. Oftentimes this is done with oils and butters that come buried in our food. If you are in doubt, ask the chef to clarify what is used to prepare this entrée, and then make your decision accordingly.
Ask Your Server:
When it comes to swapping out sides or making a substitution that doesn’t seem to be on the menu, ask your server if he or she can accommodate you. You don’t always have to settle for fries.
Remember Your Cheat Meal:
A healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be a prison sentence. Allow yourself one or two cheat meals per week, use them when you need to, and pick up where you left off. By having this “pistol in your pocket” you can take some pressure off yourself while still keeping your healthy lifestyle intact and in perspective.