We've all been there - you get to the restaurant, get caught up in conversation with friends you haven't seen in a while, then realize everyone else is ready to order except you, so you default to the burger, fries, and a sugary cocktail because, eh, why not, we're out on the town! But you soon realize you've blown it and you start regretting your decision and wishing you ordered the salad topped grilled salmon, because #goals. A couple things: 1, RELAX. Health and fitness is all about balance. The burger and fries are not going to kill you. 2, learn how to be prepared for next time, so you can stay on track with your health and fitness goals while still enjoying the restaurant experience.
1. Drink water. The more water you drink before your meal arrives, the more full you will feel. It will also help with water retention since restaurants are notorious for adding sodium.
2. Eat a little something before. Many of you have probably made a habit of eating less during the day than usual in order to feel like it's "okay" to indulge for your meal out. But by the time you arrive to dinner, you find yourself starving. So what does your brain and body tell you to do? Eat ALLLLL the bread. Eat ALLLLL the appetizers. Instead of starving yourself up until this one meal, try eating a little snack before to hold you over until the entree arrives. A little protein snack, such as a handful of raw nuts, would be your best option to keep you feeling satisfied, yet not overly full.
3. Order sauces on the side. More often than not, extra sauces are added to our burgers, pasta, or the-like, than necessary . Although it makes the meal look even more delicious than it already tastes, the additional sauce can be a bit much. Ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side so you can determine how much you'd like to use. This simple suggestion could save you on 100-200 calories.
4. Be choosy with side orders. "With this healthy grilled chicken breast, you have the choice of fries, mashed potatoes, a loaded baked potato, or vegetables." Hmm... Try to opt for a side dish that involves steamed veggies, steamed rice, or fresh fruit. Although, these three healthier options aren't always available, no one told you that you must finish every last fry on your plate ;).
Overall, you should not have to restrict yourself when going out to eat. I encourage you to build a healthy relationship with food, if you have not already. As I always tell my clients, one bad meal won't make you gain 10 pounds overnight, just as one good meal won't make you lose 10 pounds overnight. Balance and consistency are key!