A common topic that I discuss with my clients during our sessions is eating out restaurants and they often tell me that it's hard for them to stay on track with their health and fitness goals if they do. The following is what I've told them:
PICK & CHOOSE METHOD. When eating out, use what that I named the "Pick & Choose Method." This has helped so many of my clients make better choices when eating out. The Pick & Choose Method is exactly as it reads - you pick whether you want to indulge for this meal and eat healthy during the next few, OR eat healthy during this meal and have the option to choose a more unhealthy or indulgent option during the next. I ask them to keep their goals in mind while making their choices and most of the time, myself and my clients don't even find anything on the menu completely worth indulging in, so they choose a healthy option. If they do want the unhealthy option, then I encourage it. I strongly believe in allowing yourself to indulge every so often because that is how you keep your healthy lifestyle sustainable. It's all about balance. If you don't allow yourself to enjoy your favorite foods in moderation, you might completely fall off track.
GOAL QUESTION. When choosing your meal, ask yourself - do you want to be one step closer to your goals, stay the same, or possibly even take a step back? Sometimes, an indulgent meal is worth it, but I've found that most of my clients prefer to stay on track.
FEELING. Think about how yucky you'll feel after eating an unhealthy meal. Is it worth the stomach pain, low energy, or bloating? Most of the time, it isn't. Thinking about the feeling you'll after eating poorly will most likely steer you toward eating something that will make you feel energized.
ROOM TEMPERATURE OR WARM WATER. Ice cold water solidifies the food in your stomach and makes it harder to digest. Aim for drinking room temperature water or warm water while eating. Even better if you don't drink any water while eating as water dilutes your body's natural digestive enzymes, making your digestion slower.
CUT YOUR PLATE IN HALF. When you're at a restaurant that serves large portions, ask your server to bring out a to-go container with your meal. Before you start eating, put half of the meal in the to-go box so that you have portion control and aren't tempted to finish the entire thing.
If you choose a healthy option:
YOU CAN ORDER OFF MENU. If the menu doesn't have what you're looking for, you can request that the kitchen makes a simple meal for you or ask for multiple sides that add up to a meal portion. For example, you can ask for sides of black beans with a couple of slices of lime to squeeze on top, brown rice, and steamed vegetables of choice.
CHOOSE HEALTHIER SWAPS. For vegetables, choose steamed over fried. For protein, choose grilled or baked over fried. For dressings, aim for lighter vinaigrette instead of dressings high in fat. If possible, have them cook with water instead of oils.
If you overindulge or choose an unhealthy option:
DIGESTIVE ENZYMES. You can take 1-2 pills before, during, or after your meals - I keep a bottle in my purse and take mine when I'm eating and if I happen to have switched bags and not have them, then I take them when I get home. They will help break down the food to reduce bloating and gas pains. Click here for my favorite digestive enzymes.
ACV. After you eat, take a shot glass and fill it 1/3 of the way with apple cider vinegar, the rest of the shot glass with water. Chase it with 4-8oz. of water after taking the shot. This will also help your digestion. I find that the digestive enzymes work well, but if I happen to not have any on hand, then I use ACV. Click here for my favorite ACV brand.
HOT TEA. Drink hot tea at the end of the meal or when you get home to soften up the foods in your stomach so that your body can digest them more easily.
And remember that it is totally ok to choose an unhealthy option and treat yourself when eating out. I do it all the time. Living a balanced lifestyle is only way to keep it sustainable for the long term.
Thanks for reading, hope this helps!