I ALWAYS struggle with eating out when I'm trying to be healthy.
I go in with the best intentions - psyching myself up mentally to make a good decision. Just ask for no cheese. Get the sauce on the side. Don't be afraid of the 'to-go' box. Get a water instead of a beer. You can do it!
Then the minute I sit down, it usually goes out the window!
Luckily I've been able to stick to it a lot more lately since I've been doing my TBT. But for lunch it's easier - for dinner, I want to indulge! So I've kind of been avoiding going out to dinner the last few weeks.
Beth's Tips on how to eat out (When you're eating right!)
1.) Start at the beginning of the menu - and stop there!
What I mean is, order an appetizer instead of a full meal - or a soup / salad combo. This is a great thing to do for dinners because the portion size will be much smaller, and it'll be cheaper cost-wise. Bonus!
Green Chili from Illegal Pete's - with a side of pesto sauce & whole wheat tortilla
2.) Get a water with lemon OR soda water with lemon instead of a soda.
Diet soda is just as bad for you as regular soda - just in a different way. Adding lemon to your drink will make you forget that it's not some other tasty beverage! So many people forget that their drinks contain calories and sugar too - why add that on? You won't even miss it. And lemon in your drink is a bonus too, because it aids digestion.
3.) Remember: You don't have to eat salad just because you're eating out!
Personally, I love salads. But I don't love them ALL the time. When I eat out, I want to enjoy different things! Want a burger (or a veggie burger)? Get one! Just ask for it without the bun, no cheese, and extra lettuce leaves. It's just as delicious, and more flavorful without the high-calorie (most likely white flour) bun getting in the way. And that little ol' cheese slice? That's about 100-150 calories right there! Is it worth it? Meh, you won't even miss it. Get a side of roasted veggies instead of fries - your tummy (and tastebuds) will thank you.
4.) Skip dessert, and go for a yummy-flavored gum instead.
I have a sweet tooth, for sure. I love finishing my meal with something sweet. Amazingly, chewing gum has actually helped me to curb this habit a bit, because it gives me the satisfaction I'm looking for without any additional fat / calories / sugar. Also, chewing gum helps saliva production which is great post-meal to prevent cavities. Extra makes a delicious line of "Dessert Delights" - all flavored as your favorite desserts. My favorite is Key Lime Pie (SO good), and the Mint Chocolate Chip. They're amazing - trust me. And no, I'm not getting free gum for life for this (darn it)!
5.) Get your sauce / dressing on the side.
This goes for salads, stir-frys (if possible), and anything else that comes doused in sauce. Dunk your fork first, then take a bite of food. You'll still get the yummy flavor of the sauce or dressing, but you'll use about a 1/2 of what you'd use if you dumped it all on top. Trust me!
Build-your-own-Bowl from Tokyo Joes - with sugar-free Teriyaki sauce on the side.
6.) Tell a funny story (a long one).
Is your friend doing all of the talking while you're shoveling food mindlessly into your face? Well, take a break. Set down your fork, and speak up. This will give your food time to settle in your tummy. When you're ready to pick up your fork again, think: "Am I still hungry enough to finish this?" - and see what your tummy tells you.
7.) Get a to-go box as soon as you realize you're full.
I've never been the type of person that's been able to ask for a to-go box the moment I order, then put half of it away before starting to eat. I love food presentation, and it just ruins it when you've scraped 1/2 of your plate away already. But once you're full, get that to-go box ASAP - chase the server down if you have to. I will pick at my food until I've finished all of it, but if I put it away quickly, I'm good to go!
8.) Go somewhere you KNOW has a lot of healthy options, and plan accordingly.
It's always good to be prepared before you go out to eat. When you've decided on a restaurant, go online and view their menu so that you have a plan before you get there. It's so much easier to sit down and have an idea about what you want, rather than just winging it and being tempted with everything else. Always have a back-up plan food-item too, just in case they don't serve your first option anymore (since menus do change frequently).
Well, that's pretty much all I have for now! I know a lot of it sounds like common sense, but it's always nice to have a reminder, right? :)