One of the most challenging aspects of adopting a new diet is balancing these changes within our social lives. Whether it be family functions, work-lunch meetings, or simply an outing with some friends, it can become increasingly harder to say ‘yes’ to an invitation. For many of us, it’s mainly because we’re so concerned about falling off the wagon and reverting to our old ways with binge eating or making all of the wrong choices when choosing from a menu.
In my personal experiences, we tend to freak out more than is justified when we find ourselves out to eat. If you feel like you need a little guidance, here are 3 tips for sticking to your diet while out to eat at a restaurant.
Check for the ‘Healthy’ Menu
More and more restaurants are taking a progressive approach in providing health-friendly meals to paying customers. A quick search for the ‘Healthy’ menu (or section on a menu) can help narrow down your choices when deciding what you should order. Often times, these meals will aim for lower calories and may be lighter on the stomach compared to the burger and fries, but that’s the sacrifice some of us are willing to make when sticking to our diet.
Ask About Substitutions
If you’re like me, the ‘Healthy’ menu doesn’t always cut it. I typically train 5 times every week, and I can afford to gain a few pounds at this point. That said, I tend to gravitate toward the not-so-healthy items on the menu. Take the burger and fries for example. I won’t go all out and go straight for the red meat and potatoes. I’ll typically check if there’s a white meat alternative, as well as sides such as sweet potato fries. Substitutions can help give you that satisfaction you need while still staying in line with your health-related goals.
Check for Online Macronutrients
Some restaurants are kind enough to print the amount of calories for each meal on the menu. That said, not all restaurants do so. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to determine if a meal fits in your diet or not. One way you can do so, if the information isn’t readily available, is to check online. There are several resources and databases that list macronutrient breakdowns (calories, protein, carbs, and fats) in which you can access quickly and easily via your smartphone. All it takes is a quick Google search!
These are just a few ways that help you stick to your diet while eating out at a restaurant. Just because you’ve adopted a new lifestyle, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a normal social life with friends and family. All it takes is a little bit of effort and preparation, and voila, you’re able to enjoy healthy meals wherever you go. What are some of your favorite health-friendly restaurants that serve as your go-to’s? I’d love to know, I’m always looking for new places to enjoy a nice meal!