Dining out- do you do it often or not? I know it may seem like I dine out a lot, but in all honesty, I really do eat at home more often than out at a restaurant. I make my lunches every day and I try to cook at least one big meal every Sunday so I can have leftovers throughout the week. I rarely order pizza out anymore and always try to find a way to eat what I have in my fridge/freezer/cabinets.
But, with that said, over the past few weeks I’ve been eating out a LOT more than usual. Most of it has been related to work travel, which is unavoidable, but I’ve also gone out to dinner more and splurged on getting lunch out on the weekends in the middle of running errands.
Granted, I’m trying to choose healthy or healthier options when I eat out (Subway, sushi, salads, etc.), but on the past work trip I had a lot more French fries, chips and generally not-so-healthy meals. For instance, here are the meals I had when I was in Ohio for work earlier this week:
- Sunday- PinkBerry at the airport as a “snack” and a chicken quesadilla for dinner out of ease since there were not a lot of options, it was late and I just needed a little something to take back to my room since I cannot go to bed on an empty stomach (and it was the lowest calorie option on the menu).
- Monday- Breakfast was healthy and normal, but lunch was a turkey club pita with chips… of which I ate more than I would like to admit. Dinner was a turkey burger and beer & cheddar coated sweet potato fries. Even though I didn’t eat the bun and only had a small amount of taters (and had a salad, but it was basically iceberg lettuce and 1 cucumber. no joke!), pair that with beer and it’s not the healthiest meal.
- Tuesday- again, healthy breakfast, but lunch was French onion soup and half a BBQ chicken wrap… oh, and sweet potato tater tots. See the reoccurring theme? Dinner was at the airport… a nice, big salad… and another quesadilla.
For me, these eats were normal for me, but you know what? It’s ok. Now that I am back home I’m able to get back on track with incorporating more veggies in my meals and less French fries and chips.
I got to thinking, though, that when I go through phases where I dine out a lot, I try to follow a few “rules” (I put that in quotations because I hate rules regarding food and eating… so it’s more like guidelines that I like to keep in mind) to help keep me somewhat on track. I thought I’d share those with you today!
Stay away from fruity drinks
When dining out, it’s almost assumed that drinks go along with that, at least with my friends, family and coworkers. I always try to stick to wine or lighter beers and always have water alongside them. Before automatically saying “yes” to another drink, I take a few minutes to drink water and decide if I actually want another drink or not. If I feel like I’m having one just to have one, I’ll generally skip out on another round, but, if I really want another drink, I’ll have one.
Choose a healthier option on the menu
If something sounds so deliciously good that you know it cannot be healthy, it’s probably not and it’s probably the total opposite: really unhealthy. On the other hand, I know not to order a boring salad because it will leave me hungry and unsatisfied, which is also a bad situation. I try to choose something in the middle: something that is a little bit of a splurge and will satisfy me, but something that won’t leave me feeling gross and heavy after eating it.
Include a salad in at least one meal
Even if it’s just a side salad, it’s important to get some greens into your diet! Also, if you have a salad before your meal, it will curb your hunger and you will generally eat less of your main meal. Eating more salad and less French fries is never a bad thing 😉
Start off with a healthy breakfast
Do NOT skip breakfast in anticipation of eating lunch out and splurging on a big sandwich and chips/fries. It’s so important to “break your fast” first thing in the morning with a healthy meal. I always incorporate fruit, carbs and protein, which keeps me full throughout the morning. Kicking off your day with a meal that makes you feel good will set you on a better path for your meals throughout the rest of the day.
Even if it’s just a 20 minute workout, it’s something and that counts! It’s so easy to go into “vaca” mode when on the road, even for work travel, and therefore workouts usually go out the window in favor of cocktail hour (or you skip your morning alarm since you were out late the night before). I always try to make workouts a priority when on the road because it helps to counteract a few cocktails 😉
Drink water throughout the day
A lot of time we think we are hungry when in fact, we are just thirsty. Before you reach for a snack or office treat, have some water. You’ll be surprised by how much that can help your “hunger”. It’s also easy to drink coffee throughout the day to help keep you awake (see above, you might have had drinks and/or stayed out late), but the coffee will only end up causing you to be more dehydrated. Water will keep everything flushed out and also cause you to have to get up and go to the bathroom more… thus getting more movement into your day!
Your turn! Did I miss any? When you know you’ll be enjoying drinks and indulgent food throughout the day night, what do you do to help you stay on the right track? It doesn’t have to be anything big, because I’m a firm believer that every little bit counts! I want to know your “tricks” for staying healthy in not-so-healthy situations.
I hope you all have a great weekend! I’m having a low key night tonight, teaching tomorrow, running errands and then going to my friends’ (Rachel and Dan) Halloween Party!