Many of us eat out as a social activity. But one thing I’ve become more aware of since qualifying as a personal trainer is the number of people which avoid taking part in such an activity through fear of counteracting their progress. So, to try and help I’ve put together a list of tricks and tips I use when eating out so I can enjoy the occasion without the added guilt and anxiety.
Have a look at the menu before you go to the restaurant and decide ahead of time what you’re going to have. You’ll be in a better frame of mind to make a sensible decision when you’re not hungry and drooling at the delicious smell of food being cooked in the restaurant kitchen. This also includes choosing any dessert. That’s right.. I said dessert! Is it realistic to assume that if everyone has dessert you are going to sit there without!? By planning ahead of time you can adjust your food intake throughout the rest of the day to accommodate for the extra calories consumed during your meal out. Pass me the cheesecake!
Think nutrients, not just calories
Many restaurants now provide a healthy options menu, usually based on meals which provide a certain number of calories or less. Whilst it’s great these dishes are singled out for you, it’s important to take into account the nutrients provided by a meal. Think of wine gums and grapes. One portion of each contains almost identical numbers of calories and in fact, the amount of sugar in grapes is considerably higher; but what one is really more healthy? Make sure you take more than just the numbers into consideration when making your decisions.
Have the meal you actually want!
I’m all for staying on plan when eating out but the experience as a whole should be enjoyable. If you’re not going to enjoy your garden salad whilst Uncle Greg is sitting opposition with his big, fat juicy burger; choose the burger! One bad meal isn’t going to undo all of your hard work. A healthy lifestyle should be about balance. I try to abide by a 90/10 rule. 90% of the time the food I eat is wholesome and nutritious, the other 10% is burgers and cake!
Be designated driver
Alcohol contains empty calories, we all know this. So consuming numerous alcoholic beverages when eating out pushes up the calories your consuming tenfold. By all means, if you enjoy a glass of wine with your dinner, have one! But by being the designated driver you have the leeway to have one tipple of your choice but won’t be tempted to have too many.
Lots of posts will focus on how to choose your meals wisely to avoid sneaky calories; skip the appetiser, share a dessert Etc. But why!? Eating out should be an activity which is enjoyed. So indulge a little and enjoy the occasion.