Eating a home-cooked meal 365 days a year can be challenging. Some days I’m too tired to cook or I’m in the mood to try something different, so instead of feeling guilty about eating out, I take a healthy approach that allows me to enjoy my meal and moment of freedom. In this blog, I share my 12 go-to tips to help take the guilt out of eating out.
1. Stick with a time that fits with your regular eating schedule. If you’re used to eating dinner at 6pm, aim to eat out around the same time to avoid those moments that leave you craving anything in sight.
2. Dietary restriction/needs? Look for accommodating restaurants. If the restaurant doesn’t list ingredients on their online menu, call and ask them about what you need and if they offer it (i.e. gluten/dairy free, etc.). Doing this ahead ensures you’ll be able to actually eat something from the menu.
3. Don’t let others persuade you. You know what I’m talking about, that friend that orders gravy on everything and encourages you to do the same. Trust me, it’s not worth the indigestion.
4. Ditch the processed food. It you’re spending money and time on eating out, shouldn’t it be worth while? Processed foods are what most fast food joints thrive on. Take your time in sourcing a restaurant that caters to whole fresh food and doesn’t rush your order! You deserve to savour real (unprocessed) food flavours.
5. Dressing on the side. Some restaurant salad dressings have more preservatives and sugar then you can imagine. When ordering salads, ask them what’s in the salad dressing, especially if you have allergies or food intolerance. You can also ask them to put the dressing on the side to control the amount you’d like to use.
6. Pass on the pop/soda (diet pop too). The list of negative health affects pop has on the body is extensive; don’t give in to this sugar loaded drink friends. If you enjoy pop for its fizz, give sparkling water with a spritz of lemon or lime a try.
7. If ordering a meat entree, consider quality and portion. Where was the meat sourced? Was it ethically raised and grass fed? Does the portion/ounce mirror your regular eating habits? It’s all about quality over quantify when it comes to my meat selections.
8. Keep it balanced. Ordering a protein-dense dinner? Choose a side dish that can help ease digestion. For example, something plant based (mixed greens) or fermented (kimchi) can help lighten your meal and digestion.
9. Go for grilled, baked, or raw (when plant based) options. Not only are these food preperation options healthier, I’m a firm believer they taste better too!
10. Skip dessert… just kidding! Making healthy choices doesn’t mean you can’t live a little! Split dessert if you’re out with company and hold all the fancy sauces, powdered sugars, heavy whipping creams, etc. You’d be surprised how much more sugar these toppings add to your already sweet dessert. Bonus: look for restaurants that serve healthy dessert options (i.e. raw chocolate chia puddings, healthy banana breads, coconut ice cream, etc.)
11. Walk it out. Get moving after your meal to get that blood flowing! Eating out is fun but it often involves sitting for long periods of time. Do some moderate movement like walking after a big meal, your body and digestion will thank you.
12. Moderation is key. How often do you eat out? Weekly, daily? Tracking in a calendar can help keep your eating-out habits in-check. It’s important to feel good about the meal you spent your time and money on, so allow it be a treat you look forward to. I enjoy eating out most Friday or Saturday evenings, it gives me something to look forward to at the end of the week and gives me a break from the kitchen one night a week.
If you’re hard on yourself every time you eat out – STOP. Eliminate the guilt by making simple healthy choices, like the one I’ve shared today. Eating out is a time to enjoy your meal, even if you’re not the one making it!
Do you have healthy tips for when you eat out? What’s the one thing you keep in mind when ordering at a restaurant? Share with me in the comment section below or on social media!
Helping you put Wellness 1st,