Whether you’re eating out to celebrate, socialize or just because you don’t feel like cooking a meal, set yourself up for success and avoid the pitfalls that come with over indulging in over-salted, over-sugared, over-sized, and often times, if you’re really honest with yourself, over-rated, restaurant food. Follow my 10 Healthy Tips for Eating Out…

I LOVE to eat at restaurants. Who doesn’t? I mean come on, you don’t have to shop, prep, cook or clean…you don’t even have to get up out of your chair!

Nope, you just sit there while someone else serves you food and drink, leaving you to just enjoy a meal with friends and family…or even alone!

But if you’re working to lose weight in order to live a happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life, eating out can be a danger zone!

blog-post-template1) Always order water. Period.

Even if you order something else to drink, use water as a pacer. If you’re thirsty, you need to drink water. If you want soda or caffeine or alcohol, you still need to drink water, so drink both.

2) Decide ahead of time how to deal with the bread basket.

One piece? No pieces? One but no dessert? One but no alcohol? Two but no fries? If bread is something you really enjoy or look forward to at a specific restaurant, find a way to enjoy it that works for you. Bread, rolls, tortilla chips, etc, only become an issue when they aren’t given the credit they deserve. They are not to be forgotten so be sure you count them as part of your meal.

3) Avoid appetizers, especially if you take part in the bread/roll/chip component, order a side salad instead. 

Actually, always order a side salad. The side salad will come out quickly. If you’ve let yourself get too hungry this is the best way to curb it, plus a salad is going to offer way more nutrition than any bread, roll or chip, and unless you ordered fresh veg and hummus, it’s probably safe to say, the salad will be more nutritious than any appetizer too!

4) Put your fork down between each bite. (Do this at home too!)
Putting your fork down between each bite is a hard habit to create but it’s super effective.  It will naturally slow you down and force you to pay attention to each bite you take— chewing, tasting, feeling, and swallowing.

Don’t pick the fork back up until you’ve swallowed the entire bite. This ONE habit can make a HUGE difference when it comes to overeating.

5) Stop eating as soon as you feel full and immediately ask the server to take away your plate.

If you allow the plate of food to sit on the table you’re more likely to pick at that food left on your plate even though you’re full.  Asking the server to remove the food, removes the temptation. It will probably be hard at first, but remember your goals and how you’ll feel if you overeat. No one really likes to be uncomfortable.

6) Don’t take it home!

Don’t ask for a to-go container unless you plan to give your leftovers to someone in need.

No good can come from taking your Fettuccine Alfredo home. It offers no nutritional value and  should be enjoyed hot and fresh.

The only time a to-go container should be taken home is if you ordered something that is part of your normal, nutritious diet. But remember, even salads and other foods that appear real/whole are often loaded with added sugar and salt to create a taste that’s unique to that particular restaurant– so they’re probably not that nutritious either!

7) Talk A LOT!

Eating out should be a social affair that revolves around communication. Focus on conversation and you’ll find yourself wanting less food, naturally.

8) Share dessert…and remember that you can pass on it all together.

It’s not a required meal component. It is purely for pleasure, not nutrition, so only take part if you can do so feeling good about it. Meaning, sans-guilt and without feeling uncomfortably full.

9) Don’t eat everything on your plate or justify taking it home by saying you don’t want to waste food or money.

Give equal credit to the moment. Be grateful for the time spent with others, not having to cook or clean or fill your own water glass. You’re not just spending money on the food, you’re spending it on the atmosphere, the relaxation, the conversation, and the experience.

10) Save the good stuff for the good times!

If you’re eating out because you don’t feel like making dinner, or don’t have any groceries in the house, STICK TO YOUR NORMAL AT HOME EATING PLAN! That means no margaritas, no french fries, no hot fudge brownie sundae.  Order something nutritious that you would make at home.

If you’re out at a fancy restaurant having a date night or celebrating a friend’s birthday, then splurge and enjoy! Be careful though. It can become very easy for our brains to convince us that every occasion is a justification to splurge, so set limits that you can stick to.

Related posts you should check out:

Starving Children in Africa Don’t Want Your Sushi

Eating for Pleasure