What's the Healthiest Option?
When we eat out we don't often know or get to see what the ingredients in our meals are, where they come from, or whether they're organic or laden with fats, sugars and preservatives.
And although we do our best to choose what we think is the "healthiest option" on the menu, there are hidden sugars, salts and fats in even the most basic of salads that put all our hard work to live a healthy lifestyle to waste.
But all is not lost!
I simply want to point out the fact that eating at home, with fresh, whole, clean ingredients, is always the healthiest choice: the one that aligns with a lifestyle that promotes weight loss, high-energy, boosts your immunity, and avoids sugar cravings.
And with that in mind, here are my top 5 tips you can follow to make the healthiest choices the next time you eat out at a restaurant.
1. Choose the Restaurant
Using a search engine such as Google or Yelp can help you find the healthiest options in the area you're going to eat out in.
Vegetarian and Vegan restaurants, although not always, are generally great options that will have many healthy options, that are also incredibly tasty.
2. Choose Wisely
And remember - although it's not always possible, most restaurants are more than happy to alter their menu items to suit your dietary needs.
Avoid temptation by asking the waiter to skip the bread basket if one comes with your meal.
Build a plate that involves either raw/steamed vegetables, or a lean protein such as chicken or fish, and go for a salad or whole grains to compliment, rather than fries, bread or pasta.
Do your best to avoid sauces and dressings, other than olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice, and ask for it on the side so you can control how much you eat.
3. Be Wise About Your Portions
For proteins such as lean chicken, fish, or steak, aim for a portion that's the size and width of of your palm (not your whole hand).
For fruits and vegetables, aim for a portion the size of your closed fist (roughly a cup).
For pasta and rice, aim for half the size of your closed fist (roughly half a cup).
Click here to view an excellent visual guide to portion sizes.
Unfortunately, most, if not all, restaurants serve portion sizes anywhere from two to five times bigger than these guidelines!
So what should you do with the rest?
One of my favourite tips for the times when you're eating out, is to ask for a to-go box brought out with your meal so that you can immediately portion out half (or more) to take to go. Portion control is one of the main contributors to weight loss!
4. Chew More to Avoid Overeating
Because you’re taking more time to chew, you’ll also notice that you feel full sooner, which means you’re much more likely to consume fewer calories while still feeling full. When you feel full, it's easier to say no to unnecessary desserts, or snacking once you're back home.
And yes! This tip applies all the time - not just at restaurants.
Adequately chewing your food can aid in weight loss and/or weight maintenance.
5. Slow Down & Enjoy!
There are few things more enjoyable than being in amazing company, gathered around an exquisite meal.
I would be the last person to tell you to say no to a lovely evening out just because you're currently also trying to lose weight. A big part of living a healthier life is having a positive relationship with food. This means learning to incorporate all sorts of scenarios into your healthy eating lifestyle so that you stick to it, rather than give up because it feels too difficult/impossible.
So slow down, savour and taste your food, and really enjoy!
It's Your Turn!
Do you have plans to eat out this week? What are you planning to do to maximize your healthy choices?
Let me know in the comments or over on my Facebook page! I read every comment and personally respond to every one.
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