Have you mastered healthy cooking at home but struggle with enjoying meals at restaurants fearing it will derail your healthy eating habits?
Read on for some tips on how to give yourself a break in the kitchen and enjoy a night out!
1. Enjoy Your Meal!
That's right, even if you order the cheeseburger and fries, make sure you ENJOY it because that is truly the definition of a healthy meal - one that you enjoy without guilt! Don't live in fear that a bad choice will ruin your decision to eat healthier, it is only one meal!
2. Go Vegetarian For the Night
If you do want a lighter option though, I often recommend opting for a vegetarian choice or simply asking for a double dose of veggies instead of chicken or steak on things like a salad. While there is nothing wrong with eating meat, for me personally, I like knowing that the meat is the highest quality possible which isn't always the case when eating outside your own home. Out for Mexican food? Try ordering fajitas with vegetables instead of chicken. Same goes for curries and Thai food, no need to get the tofu if you don't like it just ask for more vegetables.
3. Do Your Homework
While I am a big fan of intuitive eating and going with what you feel like in that moment, sometimes a bit of prep work can go a long way at times when you may need to be eating out more than usual or when you are still learning to listen to your body to understand its intuitive cues. In these instances, I recommend looking at a menu beforehand so that you are not overwhelmed once getting to the restaurant. This is also incredibly helpful if you are adopting a new eating lifestyle such as going vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free.
4. Menu Hack
Let's face it, portion sizes are usually out of control in restaurants and it can be really hard to turn down the food when it is right in front of you, even if you know how to understand your body's own cues that you are full! So in order to avoid these large portions (and reduce food waste), I typically like to "menu hack" by putting together either two appetizers or an appetizer and a side dish (usually vegetables). What I really like about doing this is that it also allows me to try lots of different dishes!
5. Be Friendly
So this point is a little less about the actual food and more about your attitude and is based on my experience as both a waitress and someone who creates recipes/dishes. If you are going to ask for substitutions in a dish or drink, please do it politely and with a smile! Please also respect the fact that some restaurant kitchens will not alter dishes (hence the importance of point 3). Sometimes it's because the kitchen is too small or the demand is too high. Other times it's because the chef wants you to experience a dish the way they envisioned it and you should respect that since it is their job to provide you a delicious meal. So often I overhear substitution demands being shouted out by patrons of a restaurant - trust me, if you were to just have a polite conversations with your server they would be much more likely to make your requests a reality.