Many people who are trying to lose weight are afraid to eat out. This is because most of the time, we tend to overeat or eat less healthily in restaurants or cafes.
But did you know that it’s possible to eat out without sabotaging your diet? There are a lot of ways that will help you stay on track with your health goals while still enjoying good food with friends and family.
Read below for some tips for healthy eating out from your HYPOXI team.
Make a plan
Choose what you will order prior to your scheduled dine-out. If you’re unfamiliar with the food offerings, you can check the menu online before heading out to the restaurant.
Doing this allows you to make healthier choices and stick to your goals. Many restaurants also include nutritional information on their online menu, along with the ingredients used and preparation programmes. Checking these details is a must, especially if you want to control your carbs and calorie intake.
Another helpful technique is to order before anyone else. If you’re eating with your friends, there’s a possibility that they will request a dish that doesn’t fit your diet plan. Ordering first helps you choose your meal without others influencing you.
Manage your portion sizes
Studies have shown that we are more likely to overeat when bigger portions are served. If you want to control your servings, you can try ordering one appetiser or a salad instead of a main. You can also try to request a half portion instead of a full meal. This helps you feel full and satisfied without consuming too much calories or carbs.
You can also use your plate as a portion guide to reduce your food intake. Look at your plate and divide it into sections based on different food groups—half of the plate for non-starchy veggies, a quarter for carbs and a quarter for protein.
But remember, this is just a guide. You need to create a portion guide based on your weight, dietary restrictions, health condition, age and lifestyle.
Choose healthier dishes
Restaurants and cafes have a lot of food options, but most of them might not be suitable for your diet. That’s why it’s essential to check the menu thoroughly and look for dishes made with healthier ingredients.
When ordering food, search for menu items with whole grains such as quinoa, corn or whole wheat. For instance, you can order quinoa instead of your regular white rice or opt for cauliflower instead of ordering mashed potatoes as your side dish. You can also choose low carb dishes like chicken salad, beef skewers or steak to make your meal healthier.
And this is not only applicable to food. You also need to be mindful of your beverages. Instead of ordering sweetened, calorie-filled drinks, opt for sparkling water or herbal tea. Doing these simple changes can go a long way.
Being mindful of what you eat is a great way to promote healthy digestion and helps you gain control over your eating habits. So the next time you eat out with your loved ones, acknowledge what’s on your plate and focus on the colours, textures, aromas and flavour.
Don’t rush yourself and enjoy the eating process. Eating mindfully can be a special time to connect with yourself. This practice will not only prevent you from overeating, but also help you savour the whole dining experience.
Make it as a social experience
Dining out with your loved ones is a great way to establish or maintain healthier eating habits. When we’re alone, we tend to rush ourselves to finish our meal. But when you have a meal with others, you engage in conversation that helps slow down the way you eat.
Apart from this, another benefit of dining out with others is that it can positively impact our mental health and wellbeing. Whether it’s with your partner or your BFF, eating with someone you love can help improve social connections and nurture relationships. It also helps release your happy hormones, which ultimately reduce your stress and anxiety.
If you’re unsure about the ingredients used in a dish or want to check out healthier options, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
For example, you can request if it’s possible to get a salad instead of chips with your steak. You can ask them to separate the dressing instead of mixing it in your salad. The usual sauces and dressings served in restaurants may contain fat and calories, so separating them allows you to control your intake.
If there are limited healthy options on their menu, you can also ask the chef or manager if they can prepare you a healthier version of their existing dish.
These are just some of the things you can do to make your dining out experience healthier. Always remember that healthy eating is not equivalent to deprivation. Eating nutritious foods that make you feel good is the best way to improve your overall health.
Do you need help developing habits that support your health and fitness goals? Come try HYPOXI today.
At HYPOXI, we take a holistic approach focused on science, exercise and nutrition to help you feel fitter, healthier and more confident than ever. When you join, our team will happily discuss your objectives and create a personalised program tailored to your needs and lifestyle. We will also give you bonus tips and resources to help you establish a healthier lifestyle.
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