Eating out can be stressful when you are trying to follow a health journey. But it doesn’t have to be! Speaking from a healthy nut/foodie/chef/nutrition guru, I have broken those chains of fear and stress, and I love eating out. I want to walk you through how I got there.
I used to not go out at all. And if I did, I'd bring my own food or pack my own salad dressing because I was terrified to eat anything "off the diet". But, I figured it out.
Let’s first talk about the fears you might be having (I experienced all of these)...
Fear of gaining weight from the meal
Fear of having an alcoholic drink
Fear of cheating on a diet
Fear of too many carbs
Fear of unbalanced macro breakdown
Fear of too many calories
Fear of low-quality sourcing (I still fight this fear, but I think it’s more a value issue)
Fear of bloating from sodium
The list can go on...
So how do you break through those fears? Know the truth!
One meal doesn’t ruin your health journey
You can eat well when you go out
Understanding how to order a balanced meal when eating out
Understanding cooking techniques that are healthy
Good communication skills with the waiter
Knowing what restaurants will work for a healthy meal and which ones won’t
Enjoying the food that you are opting to eat
Food is fuel. It is also something that we get pleasure from. It is also something that we can control. With that control comes sensitive physiological feelings, issues, and problems. So learning how to control your eating out experiences is a process, but one that I think is worth taking on.
I want to share some actionable steps that you can take to make eating out less stressful.
If you know you are going to be eating out, plan ahead! This means looking up the menu of the restaurant beforehand and deciding what you might want to order. This will help to avoid any last-minute decisions which can often lead to unhealthy choices. I also just love looking at the menu because I get so excited to eat out!
Make sure you eat something beforehand:
Don't limit your food intake all day in preparation for a dinner out. That will just lead to the desire to overeat. Incorporate healthy eating habits throughout the day and don’t skimp. Eating well-balanced throughout the day will help control cravings and low blood sugar.
Choose a quality meal and a balanced plate:
When ordering your meal, pick something balanced with a protein, veggie, and unprocessed carbohydrates. Explore the menu and venture out! Try a veggie you've never had or one you don't often cook at home!
If you are unsure about something on the menu, don’t be afraid to ask the waiter for more information. They will be able to tell you how the dish is prepared and what ingredients are used.
When eating out, it can be easy to overeat. To avoid this, make sure you pace yourself. Eating slower helps you enjoy your meal for longer! If you opt for an appetizer, be mindful of portions.
Listen to your body:
It is important to listen to your body when eating out. If you are full, stop eating! It is okay to save some for later or take it home with you.
Don't be afraid to say no:
If you are offered something that you know you don't really want, don't be afraid to say no.
I built fit-flavors because I know having delicious, healthy, chef-quality meals at home and during your busy week is not always practical. You can use a resource like fit-flavors to help you live the 80/20 lifestyle, where you make healthy choices 80% of the time and eat for enjoyment the other 20% of the time.
If you feel like you struggle to get this balance right, reach out to me. Our fit-flavors Registered Dietitian is a resource you can tap into to get personalized help with your nutrition throughout every stage of your health journey.
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Emily Louis is a "recovering achiever." She knows the pain and frustration of trying to work hard to keep God happy or earn his favor. For years, she was the goodie-two-shoes girl who did everything to fit the mold that religion wanted her to fit in. After being gifted a faith crisis, she found, through asking questions, that God was not intimidated by her doubts or concerns. This is GOOD!