Is it possible to live a healthy lifestyle and still eat in restaurants? The answer to this is absolutely yes. You can continue to go to all the restaurants you love while committing yourself to living in a way that is physically and mentally healthy and fulfilling. However, you might need to adjust your habits a little in order to avoid overindulging every time you go out. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.
If You’re Going to Drink, Keep it Light
Alcoholic drinks can be heavy in calories. This is especially true for beers, which 41% of alcohol drinkers claim as their favorite. If you want to save calories, skip the pre-dinner cocktail or go for something light instead of a sugary favorite.
Box Half Your Meal Before You Begin
Ask your server to bring you a to-go box at the beginning of the meal. If you put half of the meal in there, it will be out of sight as you eat the rest of it. This will help you avoid overeating while still enjoying your favorite foods. And the beauty of this plan – you can have the leftovers for another meal later!
Eat Meat with Your Meal
Meat is filled with protein, which keeps you full for longer periods of time. So by eating meat with your meal, you can resist the temptation to nibble on other treats afterward. However, the type of meat you eat matters. While over 70% of all the beef eaten in restaurants comes as hamburgers, that can be a very fatty option. Consider eating grilled chicken or a steak instead.
Make Healthy Swaps
Ask your server if you can swap out fried chicken for grilled. Or maybe get a salad instead of fries. You can always ask the staff to make your meal a little healthier for you. That way, you get the fun of being in the restaurant and eating your favorite foods, but you can make little changes that keep you healthy. Plus you might discover a new favorite vegetable or way of preparing food that will become part of your regular routine. Healthy swaps can also involve asking the waiter about the preparation process. Often restaurants will use a lot of butter and salt in their cooking. If you ask in advance, they may be able to offer you a lighter alternative without much difficulty.
Drink Water with Your Meal
While sodas are a common and delicious option, drinking water throughout your meal is much healthier. It will keep you hydrated without adding calories, which helps with both inner health and outer beauty. Plus the water will fill your stomach, keeping you from overeating.
If you’ve already had a big meal, it might be worthwhile to skip dessert rather than try to eat one last thing at the restaurant. While dessert is delicious, most options are very high in sugar. This can lead to gum problems. In fact, gum disease is a massive cause of tooth loss in people over 35 years old, even more than cavities. So skipping a sugary dessert can help your health in multiple ways.
Don’t Be Afraid to Indulge Sometimes
Finally, make sure that you do indulge yourself occasionally. Even if you want to go to a restaurant and not worry about calories, you can do so without having a negative impact on your healthy lifestyle. In fact, having fun in a restaurant with friends can be good for your mental health. So take the time occasionally to have the sugary dessert and the greasy fries. Just make sure that you balance them out by eating healthily the rest of the time.
Going to restaurants can be a fun way to socialize and eat delicious food. By being mindful and planning ahead, you can make these visits part of a healthy lifestyle.