A Healthy Guide to Eating Out

It’s easy, tasty and convenient: eating out is great! However, eating out may interfere with your healthy nutrition choices. In today’s busy world, we are consuming an increasing amount of our daily calories away from home.

If you are someone who needs to eat out a lot due to your lifestyle constraints, or you want to ensure that eating out on the odd occasion doesn’t hinder your health and fitness goals, you need to make smart choices when eating out.

  1. Have a snack before going out
    If you show up on an empty stomach, or worse yet at the hangry stage, you’re going to have less control over what and how much you eat. Having a small snack that contains some fat and protein, like nuts and/or biltong, you’re less likely to binge.
  2. Eyeball your portion sizes
    In general, portion sizes at takeaways and restaurants have grown. Research has shown that we do eat more when offered larger portion sizes. Here is a simple guide to eating the right amount of food for you:

    1. The amount of protein you eat should be the size of your palm
    2. Starchy carbs should be the size of your fist
    3. Fats should be the size of your thumb
    4. Eat as many vegetables as you like

Aside from that, you could share with a friend, order the kids size, or ask for a takeaway bag for the extra food so you have a meal for home.

  1. Avoid fizzy drinks and juices
    Those are liquid sugar and ramp calorie consumption up significantly. Opt for water, sparkling water, flavoured water, or now and again a ‘sugar free’ alternative.
  2. You CAN go back
    When we eat out, everything on the menu looks good. That is after all how food businesses stay in business—by serving tasty food! This encourages us to order more because we feel that we’re not going to get the opportunity to eat it again. If you’re on holiday and it’s a place you’re unlikely to visit again, then go for it! But it’s a common eat out, remind yourself that you can go back again to try that other item on the menu.
  3. It’s NOT a cheat
    If you approach eating out as a cheat, you’re more likely to binge to ‘make up’ for eating clean. This also results in feelings of guilt, and that’s just as an unhealthy as eating poorly all the time. Enjoy your meal out, remember that you’ll never be able to eat perfectly clean, and that you only have these sorts of meals some of the time.

I don’t believe that the odds are stacked against us when eating out. When you know yourself and the goals you have, making good choices is second nature.

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