What do you choose when you are out for dinner with friends or family? What can you do to overcome the cravings when you are around all of those tempting options?
Below we have some options and ideas listed from Casie, our Nutrition and Wellness Consultant.
When going to dine at a restaurant:
1. Look ahead of time at the restaurant menu online. Most times you will see nutrition information listed. You will have more time to look over what might be the best option and mentally prepare yourself for the choice you are going to make ahead of time instead of being tempted last minute while hungrily looking at the menu.
2. You can ALWAYS order things without butter or plain. Many restaurants serve vegetables drenched in oil or butter. You can ask for things to be grilled or just to have things plain.
3. Ask for your dressing or sauces on the side. Having some dressing or sauce in moderation isn’t bad. But choose for it to come on the side so you can portion out a smaller amount or choose not to use it at all. A better option for salads would be ordering some olive oil and vinegar on the side, using lemon, or a side of salsa!
4. Choose a lean meat like chicken, a lean cut of steak, or a turkey burger. If the entrée comes with fries or chips, ask for a side of rice, a baked potato, or extra veggies instead. Majority of restaurants are OKAY with this and if anything might charge you a very small fee to substitute.
5. Don’t be embarrassed to order healthy. Many times the others around you will follow your lead when you make a healthy option or THEY will be the ones who might feel weird because they made a more unhealthy choice. Don’t let their guilt make you feel bad about making the right choice. You can always “fib” and tell people you have a few food allergies and need to stay away from certain things (this works well and people usually don’t even ask questions.)
6. Salads aren’t always your best option, watch for the kind of dressing they use as well as the toppings they add to the salad. Some salads have higher fat and calories than a pasta dish!
When going to a party or an outing:
You may not know what they will be serving and what your options will be. My advice for this is to:
1. Have a small snack with some protein and a little fat ahead of time to curb your appetite. If they have a lot of “dangerous” options then you will be less inclined to choose them when you have a little something in your belly and stable blood sugar levels. When you eat beforehand, you can have a few small things and be satisfied without having to rely on the food there to curb your appetite.
2. Bring a few small healthy snacks with you in your bag or pocket. A protein shake in a shaker bottle, a small bag of raw nuts, or a healthy protein bar. That way you can pick at some of the food at the party/outing and not feel weird for not having anything.
Eating healthy is a choice and a lifestyle. It takes getting used to saying “no” to the foods you might normally choose. But it is your body and your goals! It does get easier and easier to make the right decisions but it does take time to break that habit. It won’t just happen so you need to take the accountability for your health and your body!