With the Nutrition Challenge nearing its halfway point, we take a deeper look into this week’s challenge and tips on how to make sure we’re sticking to our eating plans. For those participating in the challenge, this week you were encouraged to go out to a restaurant, pick the healthiest option and share the picture with your community. The thing is, this may be harder than anticipated. We can tell ourselves that we WILL chose the salad at the restaurant, but when we get there and see the menu, were flabbergasted by the idea of wasting money on that salad we had in mind. So below are some ideas and tips to help you make that healthier option and how to attack temptation when it arrives.
- Don’t look at the menu: Most restaurants nowadays fill their menu with mouthwatering pictures which push you to ordering certain foods. They display these images to trick your brain into wanting whatever they’re showcasing, but you can’t be tricked if you don’t look. Before you go to a certain restaurant, check their menu online. You’re more probable to make the right choice at home than you are at the restaurant when your sense of sight and smell kick in. So make the healthiest option from the menu at home and when you get to the restaurant don’t even look at the menu – you already know what you want!
- Think about what you CAN eat: A lot of times we focus on the foods that we can’t eat, that are unhealthy and shouldn’t even be touched. Instead, focus on the foods you can eat. Look through the menu online and search for healthy alternatives – whole grains, lean meats, healthy fats, fruits and veggies. Restaurants are willing to work with you, so don’t be afraid of asking for more, after all, you’re a paying customer.
- Don’t split, don’t starve: We read articles about splitting the plate with a friend or significant other to eat less calories and prevent overeating. No, you don’t have to do that! Splitting a meal you crave will create a rippling starvation effect, forcing you to eat later in the day to make up for the hunger you suffered earlier. Eating less is not always the right option, sometimes its only about self-management and moderation. Most restaurants fill your plate with food, but you’re not forced to eat all of it. You can always ask for a to-go box from the get go and save some for later. However, if you’re hungry, then eat up!! You go to a restaurant to enjoy the food and your surroundings, not to starve. Simply make the right choices and you’ll be alright.
- Make changes to bad foods: Sometimes our favorite dishes are ones that are fried, battered or smothered. Obviously we’ve learned that these foods affect our weight loss, so work around it. For example, a fried chicken sandwich can easily become a grilled chicken sandwich. Fries can turn into sweet potato fries. You can still have the food you have, just in a different form which makes them healthier overall.
- Ask the questions: Sometimes we decide what we want to eat, but don’t know how many calories, carbs, fats or protein it has. They’re not always labeled on the menu or not on MyFitnessPal. What do you do then? Well, you ask your server or someone who may have the answer. The worst case scenario is that they don’t, but asking didn’t hurt you in any way. It’s more beneficial to be informed about what you’re putting in your mouth than to go in blind. Good questions to ask are: Do you have the nutrition information for your menu? What’s my food cooked in? Do you do substitutions? Etc.
There you have it, some simple tips that can help you through this week’s challenge. For everyone participating, congratulations on the work you are putting in, I hope all of Courtney’s expertise has been helpful as you continue your journey. For additional help and tips, Sign Up for one of our Nutrition Plans!