I always get a little bit of anxiety when I am asked to go out to eat with friends and family. Those who have strict nutrition and health goals can probably relate to this stress. However, going out to eat doesn’t necessarily mean that you are doomed to fall off the wagon. Today, I’m going to share some tips on how to make healthy choices when at restaurants, because YES, you deserve to be social and to have a good time with friends! You CAN have the best of both worlds.
1.) Practice portion control
Restaurant portion sizes are completely ridiculous, and it can be hard not to physically eat everything that is front of us on our plate. In fact, most portions are fit to feed 2-3 people instead of just one person. This is why it is very important to be mindful about the quantity of food that is right front of you. A great rule of thumb is to only eat half of what is served to you on the plate, or to order an appetizer instead of a main.
2.) Opt for lots of veggies
You can never eat too many veggies!! Choose an entrée that is filled to the brim with veggies. Examples may include veggie breakfast skillets, salads, fajitas, veggie flat breads, chicken with a side of veggies, or omelets. Veggies are full of fiber and they also keep our blood sugar down, so we are less likely to want to indulge in the delicious high calorie foods.
3.) Snack on something high-protein BEFORE you go out to eat
Before I head out, I like to snack on something high protein before I meet up with friends. This way, I am not starving when I am at the restaurant; hence I am less likely to order something unhealthy off the menu and eat errrrything in plain sight. This trick has really helped me practice my portion control! My favorite protein-filled snacks include hard-boiled egg whites, protein bars, or protein shakes. These are easy, low-calorie snacks that are super filling.
4.) Drink a glass of water before your meal is served
This is another great tip that will help you greatly help you practice portion control. Water fills you up and will trick your mind into believing that you are more full than you really are. Also, it’s just a general rule of thumb that you should drink a glass of water before every meal.
5.) Plan out your meal before you get to the restaurant
If you are seriously trying to stick to a nutrition plan or to manage your weight, planning ahead is SO important. I always like to have a set plan of what I’m going to be eating before I get to the restaurant. Most places will have their menu online, making this possible. I find that when I stick to a plan that I made, I am less likely to order something off the menu impulsively.