Although cooking your own food with complete awareness of what goes inside your plate and being the healthiest version of yourself seems completely satisfying, nothing can beat the luxury of hitting the restaurant on a lazy day, having to do absolutely nothing or catching up with friends for dinner. Your journey to fitness isn’t about forgoing all the simple pleasures in life, but all about being vigilant and taking wise decisions all the time.
Most of us cancel a dinner date or a lunch with our buddies due to the mere fear of going back to square one and starting the healthy eating journey from the first step to hustle our way towards fitness.
So, here are all the tips you need to keep in mind to enjoy dining out without guilt.
- Do not starve
Starving ahead of a meal to make room for all the exotic dishes is a mistake most of us commit. We do understand that nothing is more upsetting than not being able to eat everything that’s right in front of us. But do remember, when you starve, you are not only giving yourself a chance to relish all your favourite foods, but also enough room to accommodate all the surplus calories along with it. When you are hungry, you usually make wrong food choices by indulging in everything that excites you. The brain also drives you to eat more than usual as it takes longer to satiate the hunger when you are starving. Therefore, have a small fruit or a glass of milk, right before you leave to the restaurant to prevent overeating.
- Plan your meal
When you are given with a number of food options all of a sudden, there are chances for you to get tempted and pick some of the unhealthiest, calorie-laden dishes. Whereas, when you go with a clear mind about what you are going to have, you will have just that and be free from going through the phases of temptation, guilty eating and regret which is pretty hard to cope. So, once you plan where you are going to dine, assess their menu and pick the dishes that fit in your diet.
- Customize your food
We all know that eating some of the healthiest food outside would involve eating excessive amounts of fats, sodium, cholesterol and carbs in disguise. You needn’t always go for what the restaurant’s got to offer, rather tweak the recipe and make it healthier. If your dish is going to be soaked in sauce you can request them to add minimal amount of it or eliminate it all together. Similarly, you can insist your dish to be grilled or steamed instead of being fried. Eliminating the unhealthy aspects of a dish and modifying it to your preference will ensure you eat healthy, regardless of where you eat.
- Know what you eat
Do not just skim the menu and pick one of their fancy dishes or so called “healthy” dish and assume you are eating right. Just because you pick a salad or dishes loaded with veggies, it doesn’t mean you are necessarily eating right. What you eat depends on what goes along with the veggies, meat or fruits, which you are mostly oblivious to. Therefore, feel free to talk to the chef and know what goes in the making of your food. If you feel a certain ingredient doesn’t suit your diet, request them to eliminate it or switch it with an alternative, healthier ingredient.
- Start with a healthy appetizer
Swap your breads and fatty starters with a bowl of healthy soup or salad. This is the best way to avoid overeating unhealthy food and adding up unwanted calories. When you start with vegetables and healthy appetizers, you fill your stomach with the healthy stuff and have a controlled portion of your main course. Soups and salads are not only healthy, but also incredibly tasty, where you get to eat right and treat your taste buds at the same time.
- Order your food one at a time
Skimming through the menu will offer a lot of exciting options that will entice you to grab all of them. When you pick all of them, you have no control over what you eat and usually end up overeating. Therefore, choose one dish at a time and enjoy it thoroughly. If you feel you are not full enough, go for your next favourite dish.
- Monitor the portion
Restaurants usually serve a huge portion of food than you normally have. Your temptation may drive you to finish the entire portion of food in one go, where you tend to consume the calories of all your meals put together in a single meal. You can request for a limited portion of food that you usually eat or eat until you are completely full and pack the rest and have it during the next meal time. Sharing your food with a friend is another great option to watch out the portion size and save money at the same time.
- Eat mindfully
Take small bites of your food, chew them thoroughly and enjoy every aspect the food you eat. When you enjoy the food thoroughly and eat mindfully, instead of hurriedly gulping them down, you are certain to have a controlled portion of what and prevent over eating. Moreover, you can relish the taste of your food and enjoy it completely.
- Choose your drink wisely
If you have been doing everything right by eating the right portion of healthy food, but sip on the wrong drink, your meal becomes an utter disaster. Most of your drinks like cocktails, exotic drinks and milkshakes are loaded with sugar. Therefore, choose the ones after a clear understanding of what the drink is made of. If you are not a fan of drinks you can happily skip them; but if you want to pair your food with a drink you can go for red wine, light beer or sparkling water instead of sugary cocktails or mocktails.