Eating out is a natural part of enjoying and living life, so here are a few rules of thumb to help you stay on track with healthy eating as you’re dining out.
I love to eat out. I also travel a lot and often find myself in places where I don’t have access to a kitchen or have time to cook. Here are some of my favorite tips for staying healthy even when eating out frequently.
Mind your hunger.
I know it may sound counter intuitive but you should never wait until you are starving to eat. Being hungry is good but not ravenous-OMG-I’m going-to-eat-my-arm-hungry. This is because we actually lose the ability to make healthy judgments about what we’re going to eat when we get to a point of ravenous hunger. Our hormones take over and our brain signals us to eat the food that will get sugar into our bloodstream the fastest (think: empty carbs) because it’s in a state of emergency.
Always carry snacks.
I always have healthy snacks with me so even if I know I’m going to dinner soon but am already feeling pretty hungry, I’ll eat something light. This way, I still have an appetite for dinner but am capable of making healthy choices.
Healthy pre-dinner snacks that I always keep around: the only rule for these are that they are light and have some fiber or some protein – either of these will stabilize your blood sugar without ruining your appetite.
- a piece of fruit that’s easy to eat (apple, orange, banana) NOT JUICE (note it has no fiber!)
- light string cheese and a handful of crackers
- raw nuts (about a handful)
- carrot sticks and celery
- Lara or KIND bars (I’ll often eat half and that’s enough to tide me over until I get to my meal)
Make it a healthy plate.
When I’m at the restaurant, I make sure I am getting veggies, a lean protein and maybe a wholesome starch. Always get dressing on the side of the salad and avoid any heavy or creamy soups or sauces. If you want a sauce that is creamy just ask for it on the side – you can still get the flavor you want without your food being drenched in an overly unhealthy sauce.
Limit the drinks…
Drinks can be a huge source of empty calories. I never ever drink anything besides water unless I’m at dinner and have a glass of wine. This habit alone will help cut out so many unnecessary calories! And yes, that does include juice. Eat the whole fruit instead.
….Or your sweet tooth.
Dessert – my weakness! I love sweets. So what I do is I choose – if I’m having wine or a drink I skip the dessert. If I really want dessert, I don’t drink. Both of these drinks / foods are sources of ‘empty’ calories so it’s better to just choose one or the other – your body will thank you for it.
Adapted from the original article.
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Mascha Davis, MPH, RDN is a Los Angeles-based private practice dietitian who shares her love of health and wellness through a unique global perspective. From world-class U.S. medical centers to rural villages in Africa, Mascha has dedicated herself to traveling the world, spreading her love of healthy living through both her humanitarian work and private practice. Learn more about Mascha at Nomadista Nutrition.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]