Eating healthy when eating out doesn’t have to be difficult.
It’s true that temptation to stray away from a healthy eating plan is never more rife than in restaurants and social situations. Portions are often large, and menus can be so full of options that it sometimes seems easiest to just pick something you know you’ll love and forget about eating healthy for the evening.
…Which would be totally fine if it didn’t lead most people into a cycle of guilt and recrimination, which usually ends up with them throwing in the towel on their good intentions.
While there’s nothing wrong with choosing something you’ll enjoy, that doesn’t always have to be at odds with making healthy choices. Equally, you don’t have to give up eating out just because you’ve embarked on a healthy eating plan.
The key is to learn how to make the best choices you can when in these situations, and to take control of your diet, rather than feel pressed into something that’s going to make you feel bad or guilty. Start making good choices a habit, and you’re on your way!
When you first start on your lifestyle change, we do recommend trying to avoid takeaways and eating out – simply because initially it will make it easier to stick to your guns. That way you can get used to cooking healthy meals for yourself, with the right kind of nutrition for you.
Having said this, once you’re more familiar with what makes a healthy meal there’s no reason to deny yourself a social life, far from it. It is entirely possible to take your healthy habits with you into restaurants, holidays and social events!
Here are some useful tips for keeping you focused on your goals. At OurPath we fully endorse the idea of a healthy lifestyle you can live with and actually enjoy.
Pre-planning is often one of the best ways to avoid giving in to spontaneous temptation. Try and choose what you’ll have before you leave the house, so you don’t get overwhelmed by the options, blindsided by a sudden craving or influenced by what other people are having.
We recommend building your meals around protein, healthy fats and vegetables. If you feel you need carbohydrate , you could order this in the form of a side dish, rather than the main event.
Drinking water before and during the meal will not only quench your thirst, it’ll stop you mistaking it for hunger, which in turn will help you stick to your healthy choices.
The menu is a guide – your options aren’t limited to the mains on the list, you could build your meal from two sides, or ask for a starter in a main portion. Seek out the healthy ingredients and go from there! No need to panic because there’s nothing to suit you on the menu.
Ask the staff if they can substitute accompaniments for healthier alternatives. The menu in general will give you an idea of the ingredients the restaurant has available. Why not mix and match?
Life is to be enjoyed. It isn’t practical to expect to adhere to a lifestyle without birthdays, holidays or special occasions cropping up. And, let’s face it, life would be pretty boring without them!
The important thing is not to focus on these as either opportunities to blow out and let go, nor tests of willpower. Try and make the best choices you can without feeling like you’re depriving yourself.
These days most restaurants offer healthy options within the menus and eating healthy when eating out has never been more achievable.
At the end of the day, you’re the only person who can make the best choices for you, so think about what will make you feel good.
By definition a lifestyle change is for the long-term – trust in your ability to make responsible choices, and eat good food that you can enjoy without feeling like you have missed out or given up!
Still struggle with eating healthy when eating out or with making healthy choices in social situations? Take our quiz and see whether OurPath can help.