You love to eat out, but there are temptations around every corner, portions are ginormous and social pressure is everywhere. No need to fret, you can enjoy an evening out without sabotaging your healthy lifestyle or your waistline. Here are six ways to make eating out a guilt-free experience.
Choose a Healthy Destination
While you may have to pay a little more, it will be worth it to find a restaurant that offers healthy “real” cuisine. If you are lucky enough, you will have a place in town that serves locally-grown produce and other goodies. This place should be the top pick if you are interested in a fresh meal as well as supporting the local economy.
Often Mediterranean and Asian cuisines are healthier options than the run of the mill American fare restaurants. Stay clear of chain restaurants and fast food joints, they offer nothing much in the way of nutrient-dense meals.
Have a Snack Before You Go
If you are going to be waiting on a table before dinner, have a snack before you leave the house. A piece of fruit and some nuts or raw cheese or even a green smoothie will help keep you full until your meal arrives. The worst thing to do is go out to eat when you are starving, this will cause you to order more than you really need and this will strain your digestive system.
Order a Salad or Soup
Although you may not want to spend the extra, order a salad or a bowl of soup before your main meal. Pass on appetizers that are heavy, fried or loaded with extra calories. A light broth or a fresh tossed salad with olive oil will fill you up a little and give you some vital nutrients. Be careful of your dressings, and topping on your salad, keep it light and also stick to vegetable or beef broth soups as opposed to those that are cream-based.
Bring Your Own
While it may seem a tad bit strange to go out to dinner and bring your own condiments or food items, it actually makes a lot of sense. If, for instance, you enjoy your coffee with a little sweetener but do not want to use refined sugar or toxic substitutes, bring your own stevia or coconut crystals.
In the same vein, you may also want to bring along some organic tea or olive oil dressing if you know that your destination does not have these things. This way, you can still enjoy your meal without having to make drastic compromises.
Americans have a tendency to rush through their meals. In other cultures, meals are a time to gather with friends or family and enjoy being together. Rushing through a meal is not healthy in itself and leaves very little time for the stomach to signal the brain that it is full. If you take your time, enjoy conversation and savor your meal, you will not be as inclined to overeat and you will promote healthy digestion.
Eat Fresh Fruit for Dessert
Order fresh, seasonal fruit such as berries with a little real whipped cream or dark chocolate. This will take care of any sugar cravings and provide you with an antioxidant and vitamin boost. Follow this up with a cup of ginger, chamomile or peppermint tea to help with digestion.
-The Alternative Daily