Think eating out and weight loss can’t possibly go together? Think again. If you know the ‘rules’, you can eat out occasionally, and continue your program of weight loss and health improvement.
On the whole, typical American food is unhealthy. Add to that, there’s so much of it out there calling to us all the time. That’s why we have an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases. But the less inflammatory options that are lower in calories, sugar, starchy carbohydrates, and saturated fats are available in many restaurants and taste great. Just choose carefully where you eat out. For example, if you want Mexican, look for a salad bowl with protein and vegetables. No sour cream or tortilla bowl. In a steakhouse, it’s easy to order red meat with plenty of fresh, steamed vegetables. Seafood is always a good choice, also, provided it’s not deep fried or accompanied by overly rich sides.
Search carefully for restaurants that can cater to your needs and insist on those places when heading out.
If you go to the restaurant when you’re ravenous, you’ll be more inclined to order up big with things you shouldn’t. It’s much like grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Eat a small meal beforehand, especially one with soluble vegetable fiber to help you feel less hungry, and drink a large glass of water or two.
When it comes to eating out and weight loss, be your own advocate. If you would have skinless grilled chicken with broccoli and other vegetables at home, order the same at a restaurant. Professional chefs can make them even better than you can and 99% of establishments want to please their diners. Place orders that are consistent with how you should eat and your servers will find a way. Don’t blow your weight loss program, because one fall ‘off the wagon’ could reinstate full-scale internal inflammation and trigger cravings that are hard to ignore.
Don’t pair your proteins with bread, potatoes or rice. Switch the burger bun for lettuce. Order a salad instead of fries – with dressing on the side or not at all. Otherwise, ask for something green and steamed instead of the starches. Your digestion and immune system will thank you.
When it comes to eating out and weight loss, little add-ons like dressings can cause big problems. Dressings are most often loaded with sugar, preservatives, and artificial flavors and colors. A McDonald’s salad with dressing can have more sugar and calories than a burger and fries. Insist on no sugar added, otherwise get olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar for a dressing.
Have you noticed the size of meal portions that restaurants serve? They’re enormous. Only in America, too; such huge servings are not how the rest of the world’s restaurants do things. Therefore, change your thinking to understand that an appetizer is a meal in itself. Just stay clear of deep fried appetizers and those containing excessive sugar and starches. When in doubt, lettuce wraps make a great choice that won’t destroy your weight loss regime.
Make eating out for weight loss a strategic affair. If ordering an entrée, ask to have half of it served on a plate and the other half boxed up. That way you eat only half of the meal in the restaurant and take home the leftovers for another meal.
This rule should be the most obvious for anyone aiming to lose weight and keep it off. Desserts are very high sugar and calories.
Drink plenty of plain water and stay well clear of high-calorie, high-sugar drinks like beer and soda. ‘Diet’ sodas are a big no, also, because they cause terrible inflammation. A glass of wine may be OK, provided it’s a 6-ounce. Otherwise go sparkling with alkaline, non-inflammatory San Pellegrino or Perrier water.
Last but by no means least, embark on a formal weight loss program that has a track record of sustained success and provides you with complete dietary guides, meal plans and ideas, activity ideas, and social support. By following its advice and receiving that social support, such a program can guide you on weight loss and eating out so you’ll be motivated to make better choices.
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