Dining out, though not a necessity, has become a mainstay in today’s culture. Whether it’s the experience of trying new food or the entertainment aspect of spending time with friends and family, restaurants are on every corner lined up waiting on you while you stuff your face.
I know healthy dining habits have been written on time and again. Heck, even I’ve written on this once before. However, it’s so important that it’s discussed another time, in another way, because of how much of an impact it plays on our lives in regards to what we eat and how we can keep the peace within our nutritional habits.
People dine out all the time. Whether it’s because we don’t have time to prepare our own food, don’t want to prepare our own food, or travel circumstances that prohibit us from eating at home. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
It’s good for the business sector. It’s good for customers to sit back, relax and enjoy another’s company. However, quite frankly, it has become a wreck on our waistline.
The problem is that we have become a fat America. All you have to do is look around you. Fat people everywhere. So, how do we solve it? First, we can make smarter decisions.
There’s no magic trick when it comes to making smart choices when dining out on the town but I can share with you the tips and methods that will help guide you in making better choices.
That being said, here are 10 more tips to help you on your next dining out experience.
1) Remember the Rules – You can’t go wrong with lean protein and vegetables. The rules don’t change just because you’re dining out and you didn’t make the food.
Lean protein (chicken, fish, pork) and vegetables will always and forever keep your waistline in check. So unless you’re coming off a butt-kicking workout, lay off the carbs.
Yes carbs are tasty, but an abundance of them can become the gatekeeper between you and your fitness goals.
2) Eat Slowly – Give your food time to digest while you eat and conversate. Don’t be so disgustingly slow that you make it noticable as you eat. However, you should be focused and have a sense of control when you chew.
Don’t know how to do this? Try these 4 quick steps:
- Take a bite to eat.
- Count 8-10 seconds in your head and then take another bite.
Pay attention to yourself the next time you eat. You’ll see that by force of habit that we habitually start feeding our face when we’re hungry.
When you have a plate full of food in front of you, start showing some self-control. Not only will your good food last longer but you won’t end up eating more than you need to.
3) Always Eat A Salad (first) – This is a good tip and one you should always follow. However, don’t get stupid and douse your salad in fattening dressing then calling it healthy. It pisses me off when I see people eat salad and ruin the nutritional effect with carb-loaded salad dressing.
Start staying away from the Ranch dressing and start learning to love oil-based dressings. You can do this much. Save the Ranch dressing for a cheat meal and don’t douse your salad in dressing.
And as I’ve said before, “If you’re trying to lose a lot of weight, you shouldn’t be worrying with cheat meals.”
4) Double Up On the Veggies – Vegetables should already be an important mainstay in your diet.
You should be relying on veggies like you rely on the oxygen you breathe.
Usually restaurants will have some sort of healthy vegetable, even if it’s only broccoli. Ask to double the portion and offer to pay extra if needed. Should you be really hungry when you go to sit down, you can now eat more food and not feel guilty about it later.
5) Lay Off the Sauce – Yeah, the sauces laid over your food are tasty but are packed with calories.
How the heck can you determine the calories you’re eating when there’s a delicious mystery cream sauce on top of it?
6) Skip the Alcohol – Don’t drink your calories. You don’t have to have alcohol just because your dining out. That’s just a stupid excuse to drink.
Seriously, if you’re serious about losing weight, if you’re reading this article, skip the freaking alcohol. You don’t have to have it and this will easily save you unwanted calories.
7) Skip Dessert – Yes, I agree. The dessert menus look great. Don’t do it. Put the dessert menu to the side and have your waitress take the menu away.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, get you a scoop of peanut butter later to help you get your fix. That would be way better for you than the 6 oz. chocolate cake with hot chocolate syrup drizzling down it.
8) Take A Cigarette Break – No, not a literal one. However, give your food some time to digest a minute.
Back in my teenage years, I developed this bad habit of smoking cigarettes. (By the way, if you’re a smoker then you need to work on cutting out this nasty habit. You’re not doing yourself nor the world any favors by lighting one up.)
Whenever I would be out at a restaurant, I would get halfway through my meal and would take a cigarette break and allow time for my food to digest so I’d be ready to eat more.
You should do the same but without the cigarette. Instead you will ask yourself a simple question: “Am I still hungry?” If the answer is no, then quit eating.
Why continue to stuff your face when you’re full? Save the remainder of your food and you won’t be feeling guilty later.
9) Dress Your Best – No, you don’t have to wear a suit and tie when you go out but you should always look decent. Tuck your shirt in and groom yourself for life success.
When you tend to look like crap or when you don’t feel at your best there is this tendency in all of us to let that feeling roll over into other areas of our life.
It’s like slowly digging yourself a little deeper. I remember being on a cruise boat during my honeymoon many years ago and playing the quarter slots and losing the whole $10 I was playing with.
Instead of walking away and calling it a loss I decided it was best that I drop another $10 to try and win back my money. This plan didn’t work out in my favor and my $10 loss turned into $20.
That being said, don’t go around looking like shit and decide it’s best since you already look like shit to go ahead and eat like shit too. You know, just this once.
10) Don’t Gorge Yourself – Most people when leaving a restaurant stand up and take a deep breath because they’ve maxed out what they can eat. Don’t be that idiot.
You’ll wind up leaving feeling guilty and then tell everyone that you wish you hadn’t ate so much.
Ask to Meet the Chef – Want to build a relationship and get a few tips. If it’s not busy, ask to speak with the chef in the back. When he arrives at your table tell him you are looking for a healthier alternative on a specific dish.
Ask his opinion on how he can help you and get a few alternatives. More often than not, they’ll be happy to give you their opinion and he’ll remember to take care of your dish.