These tips for eating out will help you enjoy the experience. Whether it helps you let go a bit or find ways to eat within your needs!
While eating nutritious food is important overall, it's also important to enjoy the moment especially when you are out with family or friends. Sometimes it's okay to let go, and not worry about every little thing.
The Benefits of Eating Out
Throughout history people have shared food with others. Breaking bread with friends and family has been a long tradition celebrating love and bonding together.
While it can be great to cook for those you love at home, going out with others is a perfect break from the kitchen.
Eating out is a fun and important part of life. It allows you to recharge after using all your energy cooking at home. But it can also be stressful if you like to be in control.
When you eat out, you can't handle every little thing that is part of the meal. Even if you ask for certain things to not be part of your meal, you never really know what has touched your plate.
While this can be dangerous if you have a life threatening allergy, or even one that can bring discomfort, it's also a great way to learn to let go a bit.
Can Eating Out be Healthy?
When you eat out, you need to be somewhat flexible. If you follow a certain way of eating, you can certainly order something within those guidelines whether it's an item already on the menu or adapting something.
There are many things you can order at a restaurant that are considered nutritious and wholesome for your body. Whether they will taste good or satisfy you is another thing.
But, sometimes it's also really important to think about your mental health. Overall health is the combination of both physical and mental.
Mental Health is Just As Important
Eating out can be considered stressful for those people that are stringent with their food rules.
This stress can cause anxiety and frustration around an activity that is meant to be relaxing and fun.
This is exactly why I choose to let go when I am enjoying a meal out. I don't worry too much about what I am eating, but instead order what sound good to me in the moment.
Sometimes it's similar to what I eat at home, and sometimes it includes foods I don't often eat.
While I need to make sure to stay away from gluten due to health issues, I let pretty much anything else stay on the table.
How to let go of food rules
If you're looking to step away from the strict food rules you've put on yourself, there are a few things you can do. Eating out is a great way to put these into practice!
- Look at the menu and think about what type of food sounds good
- Don't let any food rules guide what you look at
- Pick 3 things that sound good
- Look over each thing and think about how it may affect you physically, sometimes food sounds good but may not be worth how it makes you feel (aside from an allergy which you need to stay away from)
- Choose one item to order and don't let the inner "rule follower" take charge
- Sharing a few items with friends helps you take small bites of things you may be "scared" to try since you are so used to following food rules
- Remember that there is NO food police!
Ways to Eat Healthier When Eating Out
While it is really important to make sure we take our mental health into account, and not let the "food rule" boundaries take over when enjoying a meal out, sometimes you really do crave something on the wholesome nutritious side.
If this truly comes from within, and not because you feel you have to, here are some tips on finding something tasty but filled with nutrition:
- Salads loaded with lots of toppings are often both satisfying and pack in the nutrition.
- Ask for dressing on the side as they often make your salad a soup. That way you can put as much on as you prefer.
- Load up pasta with veggies, pick a dish and then look at all the other veggies on the menu and add more based on what you know they have.
- Sandwiches and burgers are a great place to pile on veggies too. Add more to the one you choose.
- Getting a side of sautéed or roasted veggies with your meal adds on more wholesome goodness.
- Stir fries are often delicious in flavor and many veggies can be added.
- Ask for the chef to skip the butter or oil on the sandwich or burger bread. It's often something restaurants do.
- Ask for your pasta to have sauce and no butter, or if you prefer it plain ask for light olive oil for both flavor and to cut out over saturating it with butter.
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