For most, it is difficult to stay on a healthy eating plan while eating out. This is because most don’t know what to choose while they are at a restaurant. I have a few tips that I usually recommend to my clients to help them make better choices. They are listed below. The last thing you want is to be committed to a healthy diet plan and then get to a restaurant and feel defeated only to feel even more defeated when you choose something unhealthy to eat. So follow these tips for success!
1. Look at the menu ahead of time.
This is optional, but sometimes it helps to look at the menu online before you leave. It allows you to have time to look everything over and decide what you think would be the best option without being pressured or put on the spot. Most restaurants have a “lighter calorie” section that can make your decision easier. Typically, you can choose anything on that menu and not feel bad for having it altered. As for other menu options, ask to have grilled chicken instead of fried chicken on your sandwich. Instead of the bun, ask to have it wrapped in lettuce or served on a bed of lettuce. Depending on your plan, instead of the French fries or other fried foods, you can choose sides like a salad or steamed vegetables. Most restaurants are more than willing and happy to accommodate you if you ask nicely.
2. Drink a protein shake before you go out.
Again, this is optional, but most people tend to make healthier choices when they don’t feel that “starving” feeling. Protein helps your body’s insulin level out and that will help you to make a healthier choice. It also fills you up a little so you won’t overeat with an appetizer or dessert. Another reason I recommend drinking a protein shake is if you end up choosing something that doesn’t have a good source or amount of protein, this will allow you to get that healthy protein each day. I recommend drinking the MaxPro Elite protein if you choose this option.
3. Always choose vegetables.
Vegetables are a great way to feel full and not feel guilty. They are very low in calories and will help you get your nutrients and fiber for the day. You would be surprised how satisfying they actually are once you get disciplined to choose them instead of an unhealthy choice. I suggest going with green vegetables or a mix of vegetables. Good examples of these are broccoli, asparagus, green beans, romaine lettuce, carrots, peas, zucchini, spinach, or squash. There are many others but these seem to be common choices for restaurants.
4. Drink plenty of water.
I know this is something that everyone talks about but you will be surprised the difference it can make. Not only will it help you feel fuller but water can also help curb your sugar craving for dessert after. Sometimes when people feel like they are hungry they are actually just thirsty and once they are hydrated the hunger is reduced significantly.
5. Live your life.
Remember it’s OK to live and enjoy comfort foods too, but if you are choosing those foods more often than nutrient-dense foods then you are not serving your body. It is more important to live a healthy lifestyle and maintain your routine and healthy habits than to give into a temptation that will not only make you feel bad and guilty but also cause you health problems if you frequently choose them.
By Tanya Christianson, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Max Muscle Greeley