Whether you’re on an elimination diet, a cleanse or simply trying to make better choices at a work dinner, here are a few simple tips that can help you stay at your best.
•Take the lead in restaurant choices: Whether it’s a work dinner or a date, jump in first and offer suggestions for restaurants that you know have healthy and wholesome options for you. Clean Plates is a great resource for finding healthy places to eat in your area.
•Checkout the menu ahead of time: If you can’t pick the place, don’t fret. Look at the menu and see what options are aligned with your way of eating. If you don’t see too much on the menu for you, don’t fret. You can call ahead and explain your food allergies or you can even ask the server if the kitchen can put together something simple for you such as a lean grilled protein and steamed vegetables. Usually, restaurants have these ingredients and you just have to ask nicely so they’ll accommodate you.
•Pre-eat a little snack: I’m not suggesting you have a full-on meal beforehand, but have a handful of almonds, a low-glycemic fruit, or a lean piece of protein so you don’t arrive to the restaurant ravenous and dive head-first into the bread basket or a plate of fries. Making sure you don’t have low blood sugar while heading out to a meal is great way to keep you on track.
•Go for greens: Narrow in on a few dishes that are heavy on the greens. Avoid anything with lots of sauces, as there may be hidden ingredients that you may be trying to avoid. Your goal should be to eat about 50 percent veggies accompanied by a nice lean protein and some complex carbohydrates like quinoa. If you don’t see anything on the menu that fits that criteria, ask the server if something can be put together for you.
•Chew: Take time to chew your food properly. It’s better etiquette, but it will also help you achieve satiation. It takes about 20 minutes for our brains to realize we are full, so if you’re chowing down very quickly and without chewing properly, you may have a tendency to overeat.
•Hydrate: Often times we mistake dehydration for hunger. Being thirsty can actually lead us to overeat, so make sure you’re getting plenty of water.
•Adult Beverages: If you can skip the drinks, you’ll be doing your body and brain a favor. But if you absolutely must drink because the peer pressure is too much, make good choices and cap yourself at two drinks. Opt for a red wine or a hard liquor without any sugary mixes added to it. Vodka soda, gin and soda, tequila with a squeeze of lime are all better options than sugar-laden cocktails.