The key to optimal health is found in balance, and that includes finding ways to eat healthfully, with lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and plant-based proteins, while still enjoying an active social life. Yes, it is possible to dine out and maintain a healthy diet! You just need to know a few tricks.
Trick #1: Be Prepared.
Have you ever been warned to not go grocery shopping when you are hungry? The same can be said for ordering meals in restaurants. Show up starving, and you are likely to order way more than you need! A savvy diner has a small snack in their back pocket to avoid showing up for group meals on an empty stomach. A piece of fruit with some nuts or a low-fat cheese stick, or even just a glass of water, can take the edge off enough to be able to order something sensible.
Trick #2: Stay on Your Turf.
Get to know the menu at your favorite places and select a few items that you know will be healthy for you. When possible, choose a restaurant that offers healthy fare where you can eat with confidence. Then, order first, before you hear what everyone else is having and decide to change your mind!
Trick #3: Surround Yourself with Positive.
Choosing to spend time with people who support and reflect your values, whether in health or just life in general, increases the likelihood that you will make choices that enforce them. Whether someone in your life is a role model for you or you are the inspiration for someone else, keeping company with healthy folks breeds healthy habits.
Trick #4: Indulge Mindfully.
Some meals are just a quick lunch between meetings, and others are an experience to savor. When you choose to indulge, slow down and really enjoy it — and pay attention to how much indulgence you really need to feel satisfied. When you eat more slowly and mindfully, you may discover that a couple of bites of a rich dessert is all you need to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Trick #5: Follow the 90/10 Rule.
“Perfection” is a myth. Let it go! Healthy living is about balance, and the choices we make most consistently will prevail. Strive for vegetables, fruits, and wholesome grains and proteins most of the time, and reserve the cheeseburger and fries for occasional meals.
It is possible to head out with friends and maintain a healthy lifestyle! With attention to portion sizes, hunger signals, positive influences, and consistency, you can strike the balance that keeps you on top.
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– HEATHER FUSELIER, CHWC, CFP, TTS
Health Advisor | Email Heather