Eloise Palmateer, RDN, LD
Dining Out Without A Doubt
Updated: Apr 16, 2021
With restrictions lifting and restaurants slowly starting to open back up to full capacity, happy hours, dinner dates, and food-related outings are finally making their way back into our daily lives. Read the 5 tips below for making healthy choices and keeping your nutrition on track when you're out and about.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water to ensure you're adequately hydrated before going out to eat. Dehydration can falsely be perceived as hunger, which can lead to overeating come mealtime.
Have a snack beforehand.
Showing up to a restaurant starving is asking for trouble! Make sure to balance out your appetite throughout the day with plenty of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Also, consider having a snack before you go out to eat if it's been a couple hours since your last meal.
Pack your leftovers away before digging in.
The portion sizes we're served at restaurants are often monstrous and way bigger than we need. However, we have a tendency to finish everything in front of us on our plate. Even if you tell yourself at the beginning of a meal that you'll stop eating once you're full and take the leftovers home to enjoy later on, this probably won't pan out as planned. Try making it a habit to pack half your meal in away and put it aside before you dig in. This makes you much more likely to consume a more appropriate amount of food. Plus, you're sure to walk away with a second meal to have later on!
Say no to bottomless starters.
As delicious as they can be, complementary starters such as bread with olive oil, or tortilla chips with salsa, can lead to mindless snacking before the meal and significantly add up, especially as the server brings you endless refills. Make it easier on yourself and just say no to having those temptations out on the table, as they can significantly change the nutrition of your meal.
Take the Reins
If healthy eating is high on your priority list, be the one to choose the restaurant so you can research some spots you'll know you find options that fit your goals.
Build in a walk.
Walking after a meal can help to lower your blood sugar back to baseline faster. If you can walk to and from the restaurant, go for it! Or, park far away and take a scenic stroll if you have the extra time.
Keep realistic expectations.
Indulging in a not-so-healthy meal once or twice a week likely won't be enough to set you back from your health goals, so sit back, relax, and enjoy a fun meal! You can keep the rest of your day lighter to allow more room for indulgent foods.
Cook at home!
If you frequently order in or dine out, try and recreate your favorite meals at home. You can make a fun date night, cook off, and challenge with family or friends.
Consider non-food related activities.
Want to gather with family, coworkers, or friends, but don't want your nutrition to get bumped off track? Try and brainstorm some non-food related alternatives to dining out, such as going for a hike, doing an escape room, checking out the monuments, or hitting up a museum. It could be a nice change of pace for the whole group.
Hopefully these tips help you enjoy a healthier happy hour or delicious dinner out of the house. Need more personalized recommendations, or want to learn about your unique nutritional needs? Shoot me a message to chat about how I can help!