One of the toughest parts about eating healthy is trying to avoid restaurant traps. Eating out is necessary for people who travel often or have an active social life that requires meeting for meals. And while eating at a restaurant can require careful planning, there are ways to do it without falling prey to the problems of restaurant eating.
The most obvious restaurant trap is portion sizes. If you compare today’s portion sizes to those from fifty years ago you’ll see that today restaurants serve almost twice as much on the plate. If you usually clean your plate, this is a set up for diet failure.
In order to avoid this trap, you’ll need to be aware that you probably only need to eat about half of what you’re served. Many people find success by asking for to-go containers as soon as their meal is served. They package up half of their meal and then eat the rest later.
You may also find a friend who enjoys the same dish and split it. Eating half of what you’re served will help you to stay within the recommended calories for a single meal. Beyond portion size, though, there are other problems.
High Caloric Foods
Restaurant dishes are known for containing much higher calories from fat than something you’d make at home. But you can look for ways to manage the calories by making good choices from the menu.
Some restaurants have a special menu for people looking to eat healthier and lose weight. If the restaurant you’re in doesn’t have a special menu, choose grilled proteins and steamed vegetables. Salads can also be a good choice but beware of high-calorie dressings. These can make the salad higher in calories than something else from the menu!
The ambiance in a restaurant can also make it a challenge to stick to your diet. A quiet restaurant where you can have a conversation can help you slow down your eating and help you stay on track.
Try to avoid restaurants that are loud with servers who are pushing drinks and desserts on your table. And the dessert menu is another big trap for people who are trying to diet. In general, you should skip the dessert.
The Bread Basket
And while not every restaurant has this, the complimentary bread basket or bowl of chips can make it really difficult to limit your carbs. Ask your server to take it away so that temptation is avoided.
Restaurant traps can make it hard to stick to your healthy food plan, but by making good choices you can still enjoy eating out without suffering from weight gain. You may also want to consider hosting dinner parties at home to allow you to enjoy the social part of eating with friends without the restaurant traps.
Rich Jacobs is a Board Certified Integrative and Functional Nutrition Practitioner who specializes in resolving gut, insomnia, low libido, fatigue and fat issues. He uses a holistic approach and functional lab work to identify root causes such as hormone imbalances or gut pathogens that could be impacting your health.