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How To Go Out, Eat And Stay On Track With Your Diet

Updated: Feb 5, 2023



Going out to eat in general is meant to be a way to be social, enjoy food and disconnect from the day-to-day routine. However, it can also become an obstacle if you’ve decided to take on a healthier lifestyle and be mindful of what you eat. The reasons why you've decided to make a change to your diet range from lowering cholesterol, improve heart health or the most common reason, lose weight.


Below are 5 tips to help you prepare before and during your dining experience to overcome that obstacle of staying on the path to a healthier lifestyle and enjoying your social life.


Before Going Out


Go to the restaurant's website and review the menu



Based on your current dietary plan find the food items that align with what you are "supposed to" be eating. After deciding what you would like to eat compare the calories and macronutrients to choose the best option. Deciding what you're going to eat before you arrive will reduce the chances of breaking the routine and undoing all the hard work you've put in at the gym or with your diet.

Tip: The lower calorie and higher protein option could be the better option.


Eat a high protein low calorie snack



Protein is the most satiating macronutrient compared to fat and carbohydrates. That means that eating a 20-30 grams of protein will give you more control and the ability to make more mindful choices during your dining experience because you're not excessively hungry.


Tip: Ideas for high-protein and low-calorie snacks could be

i) Fat-free Greek yogurt and fruit

ii) Protein bars

iii) Protein shakes

iv) Serving of lean meat


"A hierarchy has been observed for the satiating efficacies of the macronutrients protein, carbohydrate and fat, with protein as most satiating and fat as least satiating." – Hermana, H. et al. 2007

Drink water



Water is an essential macronutrient, calorie free, and may help to trigger the stretch receptors located in the stomach. When these stretch receptors (nerves) are stimulated they send messages to the brain to reduce hunger signals which may help to feel that "full" feeling sooner. This is also why it is important to drink water during your meals.

Tip: Drink more or less 500ml (2 cups) of water before and sip water after eating 25% of your meal and repeat.



During your meal


Eat mindfully



Mindfulness is being conscious or aware of something in the present moment. Rather than watching the TV or scrolling on the phone and mindlessly consuming your meal do yourself a favor and focus on what you're putting into your body. Recognize the feelings and memories associated with eating that food. This may provide a simple way to help weight loss by eating less or making better food choices.


Tip: Ask yourself, How does it taste, smell, look? What's the texture like? Are you full yet?



Chew slowly



In line with mindfulness, chew your food more slowly. Counting the number chews it takes to break down the bite helps you from eating too quickly. It gives your body time to react and notice hunger which is a delayed reaction. Also, it helps make the digestive processes better since the pieces of food will normally be smaller.


Tip: put your utensils down while you chew the bite you've taken which helps reduce overeating.


Do it.


A healthy lifestyle doesn't mean you should neglect yourself from going out to eat or meeting with your friends and family, although surrounding yourself with a supportive group with less temptations makes it easier, but that's a topic for another article. If you are planning to go out and want to stay on track with your diet to improve your health in one way or another you can begin practicing these exercises before heading out to eat.


Tip: Take on one to two new habits at a time and once you dominate those and they are automatic add more.


Do you have any other tips you could share with other that help you stay on track when you go out to eat? Is there something else you want to know about the points above? Let us know in the comments below.

Dream it. Learn it. Do it.


Citations:

  1. Brunstrom, J. M. (2014). Mind over platter: Pre-meal planning and the control of meal size in humans. International Journal of Obesity, 38(S1). https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2014.83

  2. Finger, T. (2017). Faculty opinions recommendation of sensory neurons that detect stretch and nutrients in the digestive system. Faculty Opinions – Post-Publication Peer Review of the Biomedical Literature. https://doi.org/10.3410/f.726388227.793524696

  3. Hermsdorff, H. H., Volp, A. C., & Bressan, J. (2007). O perfil de macronutrientes influencia a termogênese induzida pela dieta e a ingestão calórica [Macronutrient profile affects diet-induced thermogenesis and energy intake]. Archivos latinoamericanos de nutricion, 57(1), 33–42.

  4. Macronutrients. Macronutrients | National Agricultural Library. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2023, from https://www.nal.usda.gov/human-nutrition-and-food-safety/food-composition/macronutrients#:~:text=Macronutrients%20are%20types%20of%20foods,cholesterol%2C%20fiber%2C%20and%20water.

  5. Robinson, E., Aveyard, P., Daley, A., Jolly, K., Lewis, A., Lycett, D., & Higgs, S. (2013). Eating attentively: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of food intake memory and awareness on eating. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 97(4), 728–742. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.112.045245

  6. Zhu, Y., & Hollis, J. H. (2014). Increasing the number of chews before swallowing reduces meal size in normal-weight, overweight, and obese adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114(6), 926–931. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2013.08.020

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