Eating out can be an enjoyable - yet dangerous - experience! How can we enjoy ourselves, have fun with friends in a relaxed setting, savor delicious food, but also avoid sabotaging our healthy routine? Can we eat out, without regret? The answer is yes, especially if we plan ahead a bit, using a few key strategies. Here are ten quick tips to stay in control.
- Do not “starve yourself” to save calories for dinner - it will backfire.
- Before heading out to the restaurant, drink 8 ounces of water, and consider taking a fiber supplement. Fiber creates fullness even before you eat, via the “Volumetrics Effect” - the soluble fiber acts like a sponge, holding water in your stomach, stretching the greater curvature of the stomach, and turning down the “hunger hormone” called ghrelin. Fiber also “delays gastric emptying” (keeps food in your stomach longer), so you will feel full for a longer time after your meal, as well - this can help with after-dinner desert cravings.
- Once at the dinner table, drink 8 more ounces of water before eating anything else.
- Do not start with bread, butter, or alcohol. Instead request an appetizer with protein and fiber. (Ideas: shrimp cocktail, salad, chicken satay.)
- If you really crave bread and butter, have it WITH your main meal, not before.
- Consider having broth-based soup before the meal (not heavy cream soup). Research suggests soup may help you eat less during the meal. Be cautious if you are salt/sodium-sensitive.
- If you plan to drink alcohol, try to eat your protein and fiber first, and sip your alcohol during your meal. Choose your drink carefully, so you do not ruin a full day of calorie control.
- If you get a chance, check out the menu ahead of time, so you can make informed decisions, and stay in your healthy calorie range. Consider ordering a healthy appetizer as a meal, for better portion sizes (most restaurant meals have more than 1000 calories...ridiculous!)
- Consider sharing a meal with your partner (or bring half home), and sharing dessert, as well!
- Enjoy - don’t forget this! Food should be fun. Our goal is not perfection, but to be “good enough”!
If you would like help setting up a healthy lifestyle routine, so you can enjoy food, enjoy activity, achieve a healthy weight while still enjoying life, call us any time! Read more about our program: healthyweightcenter.com