How to Stay On Track While Eating Out

Family schedules can become very hectic when school is in session.

There may not be enough time to meal prep or to cook a meal every evening. This is when eating out comes in. Eating out at restaurants can be fun and sociable with your entire family. However, it doesn’t mean that you should go overboard. It is important to mindfully eat in order to maintain your healthy eating goals.

Here are six tips to mindful eating at restaurants that will not sabotage your diet:

Think twice before ordering. People can fall into a rut of eating the same dishes at the same restaurant, or they may say yes without thinking if a waitress suggests an appetizer. Mindful eating involves breaking those habits that we have around eating. Stick with an appetizer, a drink other than water, or dessert instead of getting all the extras.

 Make each calorie count. Think about what you really love to eat, and save your calorie budget to spend on those foods. Does that cheese on the burger really make it for you? If not, that’s about a hundred calories. Enjoy what you’re having, but eat less. Consider splitting a dish with a friend, or ordering a side of fruit instead of potato chips if you wouldn’t really enjoy them anyway.

On the side, please. If you can ask for gravy, salad dressing, butter, etc on the side, then do it. This will allow you to have control of how much you really need. Don’t be afraid to ask the waitress to not bring out the bread basket or chips and dip.

Think before you eat. Before you eat, ask yourself how hungry you are. You don’t necessarily have to clear your plate. If you tend to clean your plate, ask the waiter to box up half of your meal before it gets to you.

Slow down. It can take our bodies up to 20 minutes to register the fact that we’re full — and during that time we’re often continuing to stuff ourselves. Take your time, chew your food carefully, and treat a meal as a leisurely stroll rather than a race.  Try drinking a whole glass of water before your food comes out and remember to take sips between bites.

Drop the fork. While you’re eating, put your fork down for a moment and assess how you’re feeling. Are you still hungry? Are you full? Try eating with your non-dominant hand to slow down while eating.

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