If you use to eat out frequently, you need to master mindful eating to avoid gaining weight and altering your health. Here’s how.
Dining out is a fun way to socialize, relax, and experience new tastes. And this is perfectly fine if you’re doing it once in a while.
However, many people eat out most of their meals. And this is of major concern since it can lead to serious health problems.
When you prepare your meals at home, you have complete control over the ingredients, portion sizes, and cooking methods. In restaurants, however, this is not possible.
We consume more calories when we eat out because portion sizes are way larger than the meals we cook at home. Restaurant meals also lack essential nutrients and contain higher amounts of fat, sugar, and sodium.
All these are pointed out by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in a recent study of the association between eating out frequently and the risk of mortality.
So why would you risk all this when you can simply cook healthy and nutritious meals at home? You can even get inspired by our healthy recipe collection.
But if you’re a busy person and dining out is inevitable, these tips might help you practice mindful eating at restaurants.
10 Tips For Mindful Eating
Again, if you’re dining out occasionally, that’s totally fine. You can take a break from cooking once in a while and enjoy a meal at a restaurant, as healthy as it can be.
But if you do this frequently, whether your job requires it, you’re in a hurry all the time, or you truly, deeply hate cooking, then you need to master mindful eating.
And to help you with this, we have collected the best and most effective tips for mindful eating recommended by experts.
Here’s how to eat healthily when dining out:
1. Opt For Less Processed Foods
Grilled, baked, or roasted meats and vegetables are some of the best options when eating out. They’re as close as possible to unprocessed foods.
2. Watch Your Portion Size
Limit your portion sizes or if the plate is too big, share it with others at the table. You can even order a kids’ menu to make sure the portion size isn’t extra large.
3. Eat Plenty Of Veggies
Vegetables are always a healthy option when choosing a meal at a restaurant. You can enjoy them in soups, raw in salads, or even as side dishes.
4. No Salt
Reduce your salt intake by giving up on condiments with a high salt content such as BBQ sauce, soy sauce, and more.
5. Water Is King
At restaurants, try to avoid sodas and alcoholic beverages. Unsweetened coffee and tea are some great options, but the best one is water.
And experts recommend drinking one glass of water before every meal. So make sure to order a big bottle of water to fulfill your thirst before, during, and after eating.
6. Get Fiber-Rich Foods
Fiber is the nutrient that keeps you satiated. So you need to add high-fiber foods to every meal. Beans, lentils, and whole grains are some great examples of fiber-rich foods.
7. Oil Is Better Than Butter
Instead of foods cooked in butter, opt for those made with oil. Or even better, choose grilled, baked, or roasted foods.
8. Personalize The Menu
For example, instead of french fries, ask for a vegetable side dish. Most restaurants allow substitutions in menus, so don’t be afraid to ask.
9. Stop When You’re Full
If you feel satiated, stop eating; it’s that simple. Even though you still have food on your plate, you shouldn’t feel obligated to finish it. In most cases, the portion size is the culprit (it’s too large).
10. Be Selective
If you have the opportunity to choose the restaurant, pick the one you already know and where healthy food is available.
And if this isn’t possible, do a quick research on your phone to see their menu and what meals appear to be the healthiest.
Anyway, nowadays more and more restaurants include healthy and nutrient-dense meal options. So picking a good place to enjoy a healthy dinner shouldn’t be that hard.
Eating out is not only fun, but it is also a necessary part of our daily social lives. However, it needs to be well balanced with healthy dishes cooked at home whenever possible.
If you eat out frequently (twice a day or more), pick places with healthy, nutritious foods, watch serving sizes, and eat extra veggies. You should also minimize your alcohol intake and soda consumption.
Also, if you want to adjust your dietary habits, ask a healthcare professional or a certified dietitian for guidance.