Is eating a home cooked meal healthier than eating out? 100% yes! A homemade pizza is way healthier than a pizza you buy at any pizza joint in town. Does this mean you should never go out for pizza? No, of course not. Eating out is fun and it is a time to be with friends and family. Eating out supports local families. However, when we eat out, we can’t control the ingredients and the portions and when we eat out multiple times a week it can get expensive. Friday night, Lee and I went out to one of our favorite restaurants, Old Bull Tavern and I ordered my usual Salmon, lentils, and green beans. I typically cut the salmon in half and only eat a half. Well, I had the intention of doing that but ended up eating the whole piece of salmon which is huge. I was so stuffed and uncomfortable.
As a coach, I have helped several clients eat more at home and guess what? Once they started eating at home more, they lost weight. I never expect my clients to give up eating out. I eat out. It is a good thing. But I do encourage my clients and help them to eat most of their meals at home because it is simply healthier.
I have a handout which includes twelve tips to eating out in a healthier way. I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few of those tips with you.
- Look at the menu ahead of time. I do this all the time, especially before vacations. Lee and I just went to Anna Maria Island in Florida. A few weeks before we went, I looked at menus of restaurants in Anna Maria online and when I saw one that looked good, I got a reservation. Lee and I had an Airbnb, and we cooked most of our meals at home and had three extremely enjoyable meals outs. When we get to the restaurant already knowing what we want to have, we are less likely to make a spontaneous decision based on what others are eating. Decide ahead of time what you will eat when you aren’t influenced and stick to that decision. Looking at menus ahead also helps me since I have a list of allergies.
- Order the meal first. This tactic is very similar to the above. If you order after your friends or family, you have the time to listen to what they are ordering and possibly change your mind. Go first and stick to the plan you made.
- Skip the bread or chips. It is impossible to eat just one chip at a Mexican restaurant, right? Likewise, with bread. There are several problems with this. The most obvious is you will fill up on the bread or chips before you eat your meal. The other problem with this is bread and the chips will spike your blood sugar and then you will experience a crash which usually results in hunger.
- Ask for dressings and sauces on the side. Remember, how the big problem with eating out is you do not have control over the ingredients. Asking for dressings and sauces on the side gives you some control. For example, when you order a salad ask for the dressing on the side. Otherwise, your salad will be drenched in ranch or Italian making the salad an unhealthy choice.
If you would like more tips because you found these four tips helpful (or perhaps you would love to work on a goal of eating at home more but want guidance), please consider signing up for a free health consultation which can be done right from my website.