You’re on a family holiday and stop at a small café for dinner.
You’re meeting clients downtown for lunch.
You’re grabbing a quick bite with some friends before you head back home.
The situation may change.
But the question stays the same: What are you going to eat?
Yes, you can eat well when you're out and about!
A few simple techniques can keep you on track and making good food decisions when you’re away from home.
3 tips for choosing items from a menu, confidently and carefully:
1) If you can, pick a healthy restaurant.
With some creativity, you can do well almost anywhere.
But make your life easy and try to avoid the worst case scenario: Fast food chains and petrol stations are only for emergencies.
Instead, try to find restaurants that use fresh, local, and/or organic ingredients.
If you don't have much to choose from, try finding a place with a salad bar or a variety of menu items.
2) Look for the “Magic 3”.
Once you’re sitting down with your menu, look for the “magic 3” choices:
And try simply adding more veggies to round out your meal. One golden phrase to use:
"Can I get some extra vegetables with that? I’m willing to pay a little more if need be."
This is almost never a problem, though it may cost you an extra couple of bucks.
3) Know what you’re ordering.
(In other words, ask.)
You can’t always trust the menu. So ask the server exactly what you’re ordering.
Here are a few choice questions to ask:
Though they may seem nit-picky, these simple questions can save you from eating hundreds of unwanted calories, and stuff like added sugar or sodium.
If you ask politely, with a smile and no food-fascist overtones, you’ll usually get a polite response in return.
How to stick to your guns
Well-meaning friends, family members, co-workers, or clients might try to bump you off track.
Whatever method you choose, remember that the only person’s actions you can control are your own.
You can’t control what a dining companion thinks, does, or says. You can only control what you think, do, or say.
So, even if your dining buddies are getting on your case, keep it together. Stick to your guns and your tried-and-true habits.
Remember: YOU are in charge of what's important to YOU.
DISCLAIMER: I frequently get hit with;
"But I don't want to be restricted when I eat out"
"Enjoyment of naughty foods is a part of balance"
"But I just want a cheat day"
"I eat well all week, can't I just flunk it when I go out?"
If these thoughts, or similar, ran through your head as you read this article, absolutely.
Remember, YOU are in charge of what's important to YOU.
These are our tips for those who are willing, ready and able to modify their habits when eating out.
Drew is a personal trainer and nutritionist and is the co-founder of Evexia Wellbeing. Drew specialises in long-term habit change, body composition training, and mindset.