With restaurants closed for dine-in during the pandemic, many people have learned just how much healthier and cheaper it can be to cook your meals at home. Admittedly, sometimes food just tastes better at a restaurant and eating out is such a fun social experience that we’ve all missed. As restaurants are starting to open for dine-in again, we wanted to share our tips on how you can get the best of both worlds by staying on top of your health goals and still enjoy meals out. When we both struggled with our eating disorders, eating out was a topic that brought upon anxiety and stress. If you’ve dealt with a similar insecurity of overindulging and ruining your “diet” from eating out with friends, we’ve got you covered. Like everything in life, moderation and balance are quintessential to truly appreciating something. Here are our tips on how you can still dine out at restaurants without the guilt.
PLAN AHEAD! Find out what restaurant you’re going to eat at and look at the menu beforehand to choose what you want to order and plan in advance.
- If you know you’re eating out later and and that the food won’t be very healthy, try to eat something lighter and full of nutrients for breakfast or lunch to balance your day.
- ie. If you want to order pasta, maybe eat a lunch that is light in carbs and high in protein. If you’re going to order a steak, maybe opt for a plant based protein source for lunch.
- Having a few drinks at dinner? That is totally fine! Make sure to hydrate during the day beforehand and eat foods full of nutrients that will help your body metabolize the alcohol faster, reducing your hangover the next day.
- Foods high in protein, fiber, and vitamins. Ie. oats, salmon, eggs, dark leafy greens will help your body metabolize alcohol faster.
- Add lemon juice to your water which helps to protect your liver and detox your body.
TIPS FOR ORDERING AT A RESTAURANT: Always look for an option with veggies!
- Try to order something that has some type of vegetable incorporated. One of our favorite tips at any noodle soup restaurants (ramen, pho, etc.) is to order the vegetarian option but sub veggie broth for beef / chicken broth. You can still get the delicious flavor of the broth while still getting all your veggies in. Also, beef / chicken / pork bone broth has tons of vitamins and collagen.
- If your group is okay with it, try family style! Offer to split multiple dishes with the person / people you’re dining with so you can order a vegetable dish and get to try more entrees.
- None of the entrees look appealing to you? Check out the side dishes / appetizers! You can typically make a meal out of the sides / appetizers which usually have smaller portions, are more inclined to incorporate vegetables, and cost less than an entrée.
- Save your leftovers and add more vegetables when you eat them the next day:
- Ie. adding spinach to noodle soups, adding more vegetables to pasta or rice dishes, or just eating it with a side salad at home to boost the nutritional content and volume.
Treat eating out as a special occasion by not doing it too often during the week. We like to view eating out as a nice weekend treat. Weekdays are typically for cooking and eating healthy while weekends are for enjoying new restaurants with friends. Stick to your diet on the weekdays so you can enjoy your weekends eating out guilt-free!
Give your body a digestive break after eating a large dinner by skipping breakfast the next day. We recommend at least a 12 hour break between the last meal of the day and first meal the following day to reset your digestion.
It’s easy to overeat when eating out (anyone else love all you can eat kbbq?) but listen to your body! Eat slow, enjoy the food, and stop eating when you’re satisfied. No one likes being stuffed to the point where they can’t breathe. Remember, you can always take home leftovers to eat the next day!
Don’t beat yourself up for having a couple unhealthy meals a couple times a week! You won’t ruin your progress after straying from your diet once in a while. Even fitness professionals cheat every so often for their sanity. It’s all about balance!
Our goal has always been to make living a healthier lifestyle easier to understand and execute. As we all know, food is one of life’s greatest gifts to us so we hope this month’s newsletter brings you more sense of calm and control. You have the power to choose what you eat and how you eat it — food does NOT own you! Happy eating, everyone!