I know many of us are really looking forward to eating out again in the comming months and I for one certainly am. But some of my clients have expressed concern about rebounding and putting the weight back on that they have worked so hard to lose over lockdown.
Although this is not the case for all, some have found it a lot easier to maintain a healthy eating plan without any disctraction from meals out or group gatherings.
So I've outlined some tips you may find helpful when we get back to a relative sense of normality.
Read the menu before you go
Most restaraunts now have an online menu and a lot have useful nutritional information for each dish. You can decide what to eat to align with your goals. You are more likely to make unhealthy food choices when distracted so choosing your food in advance can make it easier to avoid snap decisions you might regret later.
Have a protein rich snack an hour or two before
If you are really hungry when you arrive at an eatery the chances are that you'll order and eat too much. Having a low calorie protein rich snack like a yoghurt beforehand can really help prevent overeating.
Drink water before and during your meal
Drinking water before and during a meal can really help with satiety. Of course if you do want an alcoholic beverage then go ahead after all eating out should be an enjoyable experience and wine especially does compliment a meal. You could consider opting for a spritzer to increase drink volume and not calories/alcohol.
A note to consider is the more alcohol we drink the less inhibitions we have so can end up making decisions we wouldn't normally.
Try eating mindfully
Mindful eating is a powerful tool to prevent overeating and promotes real enjoyment of your food.
Tune in to the smell, the taste, the texture and the thoughts and feelings that arise while you eat. Put your knife and fork down between each mouthful and eat at a slower pace.
Mindful eating means making conscious choices about what you consume and gives full attention to the eating process.
Order your meal before everyone else
It may sound silly but other people can influence our decisions without us really noticing. In social situations people tend to mimic each other subconsciously and dining out is no exception.If you are eating with a group that is likely to order something that doesn't fit into your healthy eating plan make sure you order first.
Ask to make a healthy swap
Don't be afraid of asking the restaraunt to swap out a few things here and there.
You could swap out fries for extra salad and maybe some new potatoes ,grill fish instead of frying it or put dressing on the side.
Share with your significant other
Portion sizes can be really huge these days and can quite comfortably feed two or at least one and a half people. Sharing your meal not only cuts down the calories but also the food bill and it's really sociable. Or if you are on your own you can ask for half of the meal to be wrapped up for later.
Think about the big picture
There will be times when you want to eat your favourite food for pleasure and not worry about whether it's healthy or not.
Being flexible about your diet and food choices is linked with better overall health and weight management.
It's helpful to think about how a meal fits into your diet overall. If you are following healthy meal patterns most of the time then an occasional indulgence is good for the soul.