By Scott Colby, Certified Fitness Professional
Creator of Fitness Adventures USA
Almost all of us probably eat out in restuarants at least once a week, and for some for some of us, it’s more like 5 or more times per week. And I don’t know about you, but the portion sizes of the meals are about the size of Texas. I should know – I lived in Texas for 11 years and the portion sizes were huge.
But there are some simple action steps you can take to make sure you stay lean and mean while eating out. And it doesn’t mean all you get to eat is a house salad either. Believe it or not, you can still eat healthy at a restaurant and not be the subject of your friends’ jokes. Just check out these tips:
1). Eat something before you go out to eat. Believe me, you won’t be ruining your appetite. Most restaurants have a bit of a wait, plus by the time you order your food and are brought it, a couple of hours have passed. Eat something like an apple with some almond butter on it within a half an hour before leaving for the restaurant. This also helps when it comes to ordering. If you eat something before you get to the restaurant, you won’t be starved and it will be easier to say no to that loaf of bread that’s sitting there and all of the fatty appetizers.
2). As soon as you get there, order a side salad. Most restaurants nowadays will bring out some chips and salsa, or bread and butter when you first sit down. Grab your server’s arm and order a side salad. That way when your friends are stuffing themselves with some unhealthy carbs, you can enjoy a nice, healthy salad. And make sure to order dressing on the side. You don’t want to ruin your salad by drowning it in fatty, creamy dressing, do you? And you shouldn’t have any creamy dressings anyway. Stick to ones low in calories and fat.
3). Just say no to the appetizers. The appetizers are probably the most unhealthy items on the menu. Did you know that some are between 1500-2000 calories? And most of them are fatty and fried. Since you had a healthy snack right before you came to the restaurant and are now eating a side salad, you shouldn’t be hungry for appetizers anyway.
4). Choose healthier options of foods for your main dish. This means chicken, fish, lean cuts of beef and vegetables. Pay attention, or ask your server, how the foods are prepared. Order foods that are boiled, broiled, baked or grilled and stay away from foods that are fried.
5). Split the meal in half. Remember I told you that the servings sizes these days are as big as Texas. Well don’t eat your whole meal in one sitting for gosh sakes. Split the meal in half, either with a friend, or with your doggy….bag that is. And while you’re at it, get your doggy bag as soon as your meal comes. That way you won’t be tempted to sit there and finish your plate when you’re stuffed.
6). Don’t get drinky. Look, drinking alcohol just offers your body excess calories that it doesn’t need, and it can ruin all of your hard work that you’ve put into the gym. If your friends are getting drunk and making fun of you for not drinking, then they aren’t your real friends. If you must have a drink, make it a glass of red wine. At least this way you’ll get some good antioxidents out of it.
7). Dessert or no dessert? As tough as it is for me to say (since I love chocolate), you probably shouldn’t get dessert. Unless perhaps of this is your cheat meal. Number 1, you’ve had plenty to eat as it is, so you shouldn’t be hungry anyway. Number 2, someone at your table is going to order a dessert and probably more than one person will. Just take a bite of theirs and be done with it. That way, you get your sweet fix and save on the bill.
See, it isn’t that difficult to eat healthy at a restaurant. And you’re still having fun, right? In fact, you’ll have the last laugh as all your friends will be loosening their belt buckle and grabbing for the Pepto Bismol, while you’ll have an extra hop to your skip.
I hope you enjoyed these tips today and they help you stay healthy while traveling.