Eating Out: A Simple, Yet Healthy Survival Guide

When you’re watching what you eat, going to a restaurant, fast-food joint, or any other type of eatery can create anxiety about how you will survive with your waistline intact. After all, there isn’t much worse that having a menu loaded with high-fat high-calorie options staring you in the face, making you waver on your decision to eat healthy.Fortunately, there are ways to make the whole process less daunting so that you can eat your meal away from home in peace knowing that you won’t undo all of the hard work you’ve accomplished up to this point. Here are just a few of them:

Forego the menu, at least at first. Admittedly, this option works best if you’re eating at an establishment that you’ve been to before and are familiar with what they serve, but it can still be used if you’re trying a new place. Either way, decide first what you’re going to eat without looking at the menu. This allows you to make a healthier decision without being swayed by pictures of foods that you know aren’t nutritious.

Choose an appetizer. One of the biggest issues with eating out is the portion sizes. Most restaurants serve entrees large enough to feed two to four people and even fast food joints allow you to supersize your meal by choosing between small, medium, or large combos. You can avoid this whole issue by ordering an appetizer, side dish, or starter instead. Their portions are generally naturally smaller, so you don’t have to feel as guilty eating the whole thing.

Portion your plate. If the item you want most is not available as an appetizer or starter, you can still order the full entrée and just portion it when it gets to you (that is, unless the restaurant will simply agree to box up half before even bringing it to the table). Take your SlimPlates with you so you can look at them or snap a picture of them with your smartphone so you know roughly how much to eat of each item.

Go for spice. Going out to eat and choosing bland, flavorless food in an attempt to curb your eating can backfire. You’re left not feeling satisfied so you may eat more or find it easier to order a dessert because you feel you “deserve” it after having such a lifeless meal. Instead, order something that is spicy so that your taste buds are as satisfied as your tummy. Mexican food is great for this purpose, as is Thai and other similar options.

Get dressings and sauces on the side. It is often the condiments and sauces that carry the most calories in a meal so, ideally, you’re best to go without them. However, sometimes you want just a little taste and that is enough to calm your desire for it. Just ask for these types of items to be served on the side so that you can control how much of them you eat. Dipping your fork in them versus spreading them all over your plate will decrease the amount you consume while still allowing you to enjoy their flavors.

Make concessions where you can. Let’s say you have a craving for pizza. If you order a salad, you aren’t going to satisfy that craving and may find that you tend to overeat because of it. Therefore, you may be further ahead by simply ordering pizza and making it as healthy as you can by adding veggies and keeping off the meat. That way, you are getting the taste your mouth desires without hindering your weight loss efforts.

Relax a little. Sometimes when you go out to eat, you just want something that isn’t the best for your health. Plus, having a treat every now and again is a great way to make it easier to stay on task the rest of the time. So, don’t be afraid to splurge a little every once in a while. It isn’t one meal that is going to make or break you; it is what you do consistently over time that matters most.

Eating out doesn’t have to make you break out in a sweat, and it won’t as long as you follow suggestions such as these. Share this with friends and see if you can come up with a list of ideas you can try the next time you’re out together!

What are the tips and tricks that you use when eating out to stay on task and not overeat?