One of the biggest mistakes many people make when trying to live a fitter lifestyle is that they begin to isolate themselves in an attempt to be in control and not stray off their set plan. An easy way for a new dieter to stay on track is to avoid any kind of situation that involves food such as partying or eating out at restaurants. In my own opinion and experience, all that will make you is— miserable! Skipping out on work functions and dinner dates because you are “afraid” of eating off your plan or that eating out is code word for “eating bad” is a lousy excuse.
You are in control…
No one is forcing you to eat waffles and deep fried Oreo’s- so hold your horses! Many people play the victim card and feel like they get pressured into eating unhealthy but I can’t remember the last time I was threatened to eat a corn dog…so just stop it. You control what you eat.
Rather than the “I can’t” mentality, why not try the, “I do not want to” mentality. By saying “I do not want to” or “no thanks” you remove the self imposed restrictions from yourself. View your eating as CHOICES that will get you closer to your goals rather than punishment.
Tips to Eating Healthy at Restaurants
Special or custom order– Just because the burger or pasta comes with cheese on it, does not mean you cannot request to have it without. Restaurants are very accommodating in order to make the customer enjoy the dining experience. If there is something listed with the meal on the menu, you can request for a substitution or alternative. Also do not be afraid to ask for an extra side of steamed vegetables or for your fried chicken sandwich to be grilled instead.
Order off of the “lighter” menu– Many restaurants have a menu or section on the main menu that has lighter options. Many restaurants go out of their way to make sure that these options are just as flavorful as the items on the main menu so you do not have to sacrifice the flavor for the low calorie option.
Skip the extras– If the automatic sides are loaded mashed potatoes or fried okra (while they may sound tasty) you can usually ask for something a bit less calorie rich without a problem. You can skip or sub the sides for steamed vegetables that will fill you up without all the extra fat and carbohydrates. When ordering a salad, I tend to skip the croutons and cheese and ask for my dressing on the side. I always ask for some type of lean protein to be served on top such as shrimps, chicken or steak. The protein and bulk from the salad will keep you full and satisfied without a ton of extra calories in one sitting.
Ask for a to-go box– When your meal is delivered, ask for a to-go box, then split your meal in half. Enjoy the half portion that is left on your plate during that meal. You will be surprised that you will probably be satisfied with the half portion and be able to have another meal for tomorrow with the leftovers.
Don’t worry about what others are eating– If everyone else if eating fries and pasta- who cares? Do not worry about what others are eating as they probably will not be worried about what you are eating. The more you focus on wanting what others are having, you will make yourself miserable.
Don’t worry about what others may think of your choices– Every once in a while you may get the person who says “Oh look at that rabbit food” or “There you go being healthy again”. As long as you are not forcing your eating habits on anyone, then they need not voice their opinion. Simply place your order, and do not react or become defensive if someone comments on your food options. Many time negative comments come from a place of insecurity or the inner desire to have the discipline that you demonstrate. So do not take it personally. There may be other times that you feel insecure or uncomfortable ordering a healthy option because you feel judged, but more often than not- people do not care about what your choices are. Long story short do what makes YOU happy, this is your body and your life.
Please share any tips that you use to eat healthy at restaurants in the comments section below!