Eating out, whether it’s fast food or a classy restaurant can either be a satisfying experience, or it can be a land-mine of danger zones, tempting food, and cheating binges. Or how about date night? Many people have experienced the seemingly inevitable “relationship weight”, the unfortunate result of eating out so often with that special someone.
So how do we take these situations and work them to our advantage? How do we ATTACK instead of being victimized by our circumstances? Here’s three strategies that can be employed in the fast food or high-class restaurant scenario, whether you’re eating alone, going with friends, a date, or out with the family.
1. Plan Ahead
-The more you know, the more equipped you will be. So if you know where you’re going to be eating out that evening, get online and take a quick preview of the menu. If they have a nutrition guide, even better! If you have a big date night planned, but you don’t know where you’ll be going, try to plan ahead by going light on breakfast and lunch so that you be able to treat yourself at dinner. When you arrive at dinner, take a look at the main menu and dessert menu at the beginning of the meal instead of just the appetizers so you’ll know what to expect and how to plan your meal.
-Decide what you want the most, and then work around that. For example, if you’re browsing the dessert menu at Bâton Rouge and the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake catches your eye, make that your priority, and go light on other parts of the meal. Perhaps decide to order a side of seasonal vegetables rather than sweet potato fries with your Louisiana BBQ Chicken. The same goes for fast food. If you’re getting poutine with friends, make that your treat, and go healthy with the beverages, perhaps choosing bottled water over a coke.
-Whether you’re on a fancy date or grabbing a quick bite with friends, make the people the priority, not the food. Food is wonderful and enjoyable, but try to let it fade into the background. Instead of letting the nachos between you steal all your attention, try to give your full focus to the person across the table. Find your enjoyment from that, with food being the complimentary add-on. In order to accomplish this, it helps to put the Eating Slow tactics from the last post into practice. Put down your fork between bites. Chew slowly and breathe. Talk. It’s always difficult to scarf down your food when you’re busy engaging in conversation.
Eating out should be a good experience, not a stressful one. Just because you’re going out, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on being healthy. Yes, there will be many more temptations, such as endless appetizers, sugary drinks, tasty sides, and of course, dessert, but with the right tactics, you can safely and satisfyingly make it through. Don’t let the food get the best of you. When going into a war zone such as this, ATTACK! And realize that you can win this battle, enjoy the company of your friends and the taste of the food without letting it master you.