Fit and Fab Floridians, it is inevitable that at some point we all eat out. Sometimes more often than we want. With friends in town, social events and life happening, it can be challenging to find time to meal prep. Oftentimes we hit up DoorDash, Uber Eats or just head into our favorite restaurant. Without a plan, this can really put a crimp in our healthy living and also our health in general. How many times have you eaten out and cleared your whole plate? How often have you ordered something you wouldn’t normally eat? Do you start out with a high-calorie appetizer or graze on bread? Are you enjoying cocktails and higher-calorie beverages with your restaurant meals? All of these things can lead to increased weight gain and possible health problems.
How can we still eat out and be healthy? I have a few ideas for you to consider when eating out that will assist you in how to be healthy and still enjoy going out with friends and family.
Tip 1: Review the menu before you go. Look over the menu and find the healthier options and stick to the meal you choose. It can be challenging not to order what somebody else is having when you are hungry and don’t have a plan.
Tip 2: Start with a salad or vegetable. Your body will start the digestion process quickly when fueled with fiber first. After your fiber, then eat your protein, followed by starches and sugars last. Starches include that bread that is served first, so refrain from starting there.
Tip 3: Ask the waiter to bring only half of your dinner out and box the other half to go. The portions we receive at most restaurants are larger than a meal we would normally eat. As the night goes on, we continue picking at our plate even if we aren’t hungry. By the time dinner is over, the whole plate of food is gone.
Tip 4: Split an entree with a friend. If you must have dessert, split that as well. This will cut your calorie intake in half and leave you feeling satisfied, not stuffed.
Tip 5: Drink water! If you choose to have a cocktail, drink water between each sip of your cocktail. Limit your alcohol intake to no more than two alcoholic drinks.
I hope you find these tips helpful and can enjoy some of the wonderful dining experiences here in Southwest Florida while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle and making mindful nutrition choices! Keep smiling and enjoying paradise.
*This article also appeared in the Coastal Breeze on April 27, 2023.