“I’d love to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but what to do at dine-outs, which are quite regular?”
“I can never decide what a healthy choice at a restaurant is. I’m forced to have cheat meals everytime.”
“I eat healthy all week, but weekends out with friends and family messes up my regime.’
These worries are common among those starting a strict health regime. Many assume that avoiding outings or having a cheat meal every time you eat out will be the only solution. Truth is, you need not compromise on your social life to stick to your healthy eating lifestyle.
Choose your food wisely:
Whenever you are eating out, your ideal choice should be a meal with lean protein, good fats and complex carbs. A typical balanced meal would include paneer/ tofu/ fish/ chicken/beef, a salad, quinoa/ brown rice, if available, veggies on the side. Filling and healthy! Just ensure that under the guise of having salad, you are not consuming mayonnaise and other sauces. Ask for balsamic vinegar/lime or a little olive oil to drizzle over your salad as a dressing.
Request for it your way:
You can always request for a slight change in your dish to make it healthier. If an item is fried, ask for it grilled/roasted/steamed. If the side dish is French fries, ask for a replacement with veggies. More often than not, restaurants willingly cooperate with small changes.
Don’t go blindly by the menu:
Often, restaurants label a dish as ‘sugar-free’, ‘cholesterol-free’, ‘low-carb’. These labels don’t really mean a choice is healthy. Added sugars and fats can be hidden in these foods to make them taste better. ‘Cholesterol-free’ does not necessarily mean fat-free; the dish could still be packed with calorie-dense oil. Low-carb doesn’t always mean low-calorie. To be sure, read the menu description of the dish thoroughly. When uncertain, just ask your waiter.
Order your meal before everyone else:
Whenever you are dining out with friends and family, you must have definitely noticed how others can land up influencing your decisions, without you really realizing (aka, herd mentality!). Your choice may unintentionally be based on what others choose. If you’re eating with a group that is likely to order food that doesn’t fit into your healthy eating plan, order first, so you do not land up following another’s order, just because it sounded tempting!
While it is not mandatory to drink, social situations may call for you to act accordingly. Check out our blog on choosing a healthy drinks, which is sure to help you make it through the evening without feeling out of place.
Skip the dessert:
You can have a spoon or two of it, just to satiate your taste buds, but downing the whole chocolate brownie with ice cream is a total no-no. One way to stay on track, if you must have a little, is by sharing it with the table. That will limit your consumption. But undoubtedly, the best option is to skip it and maybe have a piece of dark chocolate at home.
Never leave the house on an empty stomach:
Just as you diligently follow the rule of not working out on an empty stomach, make sure you are not shopping or going out of your house when you are starving. That is when you make your worst food choices! Have a small snack or a handful of nuts, which will keep you going and help you make a healthy choice while placing your food order!
Remember, healthy diet is majorly a mind-game. Sticking to it and giving up is in your hands.
Share your goals with family/ close friends:
You may not always have the chance to be around like-minded people but you can definitely share your goals and find the support of your loved ones, which will help you stay committed. Being reminded of your goals will certainly help you avoid giving in and gorging on food that could ruin your progress.
All said and done, just remember that we each have just one life to live. That makes it all the more important to not sacrifice our family or social life and to create a balance with our healthy lifestyle so that we don’t feel like we are missing out. Make it a lifestyle, not just a temporary diet, so you can live healthier and fitter always.