A lot of patients express that it is often difficult to follow their meal plans when eating out. Buying groceries and following a meal plan at home is one thing, but dinning out can pose some challenges. Here are a few tips on how to stay on track with your meal plan and maintain your healthy lifestyle.
- Planning ahead: Going out doesn’t have to be stressful if you plan ahead. If you know the restaurant you are going to, chances are that the restaurant has an online menu to help you choose the healthiest food options.
- Keep it small: ask for half portions if you expect a large dish or share a meal with your family or friends.
- Side dishes: A lot of restaurants offer a variety of side dishes so it is important to be able to choose the more nutritious options. Vegetables (ask for more veggies), whole grains and legumes are healthy options. Be mindful of the portions.
a. Go for baked or grilled meat instead of fried or battered.
b. Choose lean meats such as fish or chicken, or choose the vegetarian option of the same meal.
c. When going for pizza, get a thin crust with a low fat cheese instead of thick or stuffed crust. Add a side dish such as a salad and eat it beforehand. Be mindful of your portions.
d. Choose lower- fat condiments such as mustard and vinaigrettes. If your dish comes with a rich sauce, get it on the side
e. Avoid sprinkling extra salt to your foods - restaurant foods are usually high in sodium and fat. Extra salt will trigger hunger and activate your hedonic/pleasure hunger.
- Beverages and dessert:
a. Skip or divide up dessert or choose low fat options such as fruit sorbet. If still hungry…have a cappuccino.
b. If you drink alcohol, limit it to one or two drinks for the day.
With a little planning, you can make healthier choices when dinning out