Eating Out Mindfully

April 7, 2009

One of the biggest challenges many people face with their eating habits today is dining out. With work, family, and keeping up with daily chores and activities, many people don’t have enough time in the day to prepare foods at home and therefore resort to eating out. While dining out can be a relaxing, enjoyable experience, if you’re not paying attention, it could have detrimental effects on your body. But, keep these tips in mind when getting ready to go out for your next meal and you can maintain a healthy heart and waist.

menu1. Whenever possible, plan ahead. Many restaurants display their menu online. If you know in advance where you’ll be eating, check out the menu and make your selection before going. This way you’re choosing when your not distracted or overly hungry and will likely make a healthier choice.

2. Study the menu carefully. Be careful choosing items with terms, such as “buttery, sautéed, crispy, fried, cream or cheese sauce, hollandaise, or marinated in oil.” Instead choose foods indicating low fat, such as “steamed, poached, grilled, roasted, boiled, or barbequed.”

3. Ask questions. If you’re unsure about how something is prepared…Ask! Oftentimes, meals appear to be healthy, but, may be saturated in butter or oil.

4. Make special requests. Many times I hear from clients that they “don’t want to be THAT person”, but, most of the time restaurants don’t mind and will honor your requests because they want to please their customers…perhaps limit it to one or two requests if you don’t want to appear too demanding.

5. Stay relaxed & eat slowly. Whether you’re out to eat or at home, eating in a relaxed environment and relaxed-eatingeating slowly will likely prevent you from overeating. Try enjoying the atmosphere or conversation with others instead of rushing to get your food down.

6. Stop eating when full. When you are relaxed and eat slowly, it’s easier to listen to your body to know when your full. Those people who eat until they’re comfortably full, tend to manage their weight better than those who overeat.

7. Save some for later! Restaurants are known to serve large portions. When you stop eating when you’re full, you’ll most likely have leftovers to take home for another meal. If you have a hard time with this, try asking for ½ your order to be put in the “doggie bag” before it’s served.

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