Are you planning on eating out? Heading out and allowing someone else to do the cooking is relaxing and a perfect treat after a busy day.
However, when people eat out they tend to eat larger portions, opt for a treat meal, have an alcoholic beverage and possibly a little dessert. If eating out is a frequent occurrence, how then can we maintain our health and fitness goals?
First and foremost, you need to establish ground rules. Without ground rules, you will slip into an unwanted eating pattern of constant treat meals that will cause you to put on unwanted weight, feel sluggish, unmotivated to exercise and frustrated that you are not seeing results even after all your efforts to hit the gym.
Here are our top ground rules that allow us to eat out and enjoy the break from food prep, without compromising our goals.
- Don’t make eating out your cheat meal.
If your health and fitness is important to you, then make it a way of life. Eating takeaway, stopping in at cafes and going out to restaurants with friends is a part of life. Choose your food according to your goals. Don’t fall into the trap of it’s just a treat. A treat will then be expected each time you go out and before you know it, you are having treats every other day.
- Do your research and find your favourite healthy café/takeaway.
These will become your simple go to places, whether you have forgotten your lunch or want to grab some take away on your way home from work. Find dishes that are cost effective and have all your nutritional needs. When you meet up with friends, suggest these places.
- If you haven’t been to the restaurant, check out the menu before you go.
If you haven’t been to the restaurant before, choose what you are eating before you go. This will take out the stress and will prevent you from going with the crowd and ordering that beer battered fish and chips. It will also help with ‘friend pressure’ to have a cheat night.
- Be prepared to make changes to your meal.
Not all places cater for healthy eating, therefore be prepared to have the sauce or salad dressing on the side, take off the chips, add extra protein and a side of avocado. At the end of the day, you are paying for the meal so you may as well eat according to your goals.
- Don’t go out with friends to dinner starving.
The biggest mistake people make when going out for dinner is skipping lunch. When you skip lunch in preparation of your meal out, you will be the most eager to hit the breadbasket. Instead eat as per normal and you will find you have a lot more self-control when you are out. When you are starving you are much more likely to have the cravings of the high carb meal, so don’t skip lunch!
Once you start establishing these ground rules, you will notice a massive shift in your mindset of eating out. It will no longer become a time to indulge or something to be fearful of. Instead you will feel proud of yourself for choosing clean meals. There will be no regrets! It will get easier every time you do it, stay strong and put your health first.