When changing your habits in any way, shape, or form; one of the most difficult situations to get adjusted to is social outings. I’m talking parties, holidays, family nights, girls night out, vacations, road trips, even just a casual meal out at a local restaurant.
While I always recommend checking out the menu beforehand, sometimes plans change last minute or you run into a spontaneous night out. Below are the Top 10 Tips I keep in mind when choosing what to order while dining out.
MY ONLY MANDATORY RULE! Always order what you want and make sure to enjoy the food! Changing your lifestyle is NOT EASY. Dining out can be frustrating at first, but swapping gets easier with time.
Before we jump in, remind yourself that the tips below is what works for me personally! What works for me, may not work for you & that’s completely okay.
- Prioritize what you want: If you’re fixated or craving a certain food; get it, savor it, and enjoy the meal with no guilt. I recommend using the ‘PICK 1’ method (who thinks I should copyright this term?):
- American pick one: burger bun or french fries
- Mexican pick one: guacamole or cheese
- Italian pick one: creamy sauce or carb (pasta, rice, potato)
- Brunch pick one: toast or breakfast potatoes
- Don’t be afraid to customize your order: In order to make the wisest food choices, I usually have to swap something in the pre-arranged menu option
- Frequent Swaps: get a veggie/fruit instead of a carb, lettuce instead of bun/flour tortillas, oil/lemon instead of creamy dressing
- Indulge on high quality foods: Instead of ordering a low quality food I can get anywhere; I choose higher quality options to indulge on. These items are usually higher in fat, but keep me full longer & don’t cause cravings later in the day!
- Lower Quality Foods: ice cream, french fries,
- Higher Quality Foods: steak, salmon, cheese, bacon, cured meats,
- Stick to protein rich foods
- Always skip the bread basket
- Less ingredients the better. If you’re spending money on a meal; would you rather it be processed? Or prepared with fresh, unaltered ingredients?
- Look for “grilled”, “steamed”, “baked”, & “broiled” on the menu
- Appetizers are the new entree: ordering menu items a la carte gets rid of the trickiness of customizing a pre-arranged menu option
- Watch the volume: Eat enough so you feel satisfied, but it’s not mandatory to finish the whole plate.
- Keep it simple. Don’t overthink it. If you’re frustrated or overwhelmed, take a deep breath. One meal will not make you fat, skinny, healthy, or unhealthy.