I challenge you (just like I challenge my clients) to delve deeper than your average healthy-eating-when-out tips. There are other tricks of the trade to help you eat the right amount.
When you think of healthy dining out tips—what comes to mind? Dressing on the side?
Swapping rice for an extra side of veggies?
Sticking with items described as: grilled, roasted, seared, baked, broiled, steamed, or poached?
While these tips are important, I challenge you (just like I challenge my clients) to delve deeper than your average healthy-eating-when-out tips. There are other tricks of the trade to help you eat the right amount. 5 Surprising Ways to Eat Less When Eating Out1. Talk with your dining partner: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people dining together and there is no conversation (zilch, nada, nothing!)—only stoic faces and eating. I feel awkward just watching them! Having a meal with someone should be an experience (not just chewing, swallowing, and repeat, repeat, repeat until there’s nothing left). By talking with your dining partner, not only will you have more fun, but you’ll automatically take more time to eat your meal. In turn, this helps you better tell when you’re full. If you have a hard time starting conversations, start asking random questions, like “If you opened a restaurant, what theme would it be and why?” You’ll be surprised what you’ll learn and you may even spark some smiles.
2. Notice the flavors in your food: I like to guess the spices, herbs, and flavorings used in the foods I eat when out. For example, when ordering a salad the other day, I could taste an herb in the mix, but I wasn’t sure what herb or where it was coming from. I took time to chew and savor each bite, and eventually, I discovered it was rosemary coming from feta cheese infused with the herb. This simple process of slowing down not only allows our brains to catch up with our stomachs in terms of fullness, but it allows for a greater appreciation of food and sparks new ideas you can use in your own cooking.
3. Put your utensils down between bites: You certainly don’t have to put your fork down between every bite, but every once in a while, take a minute to chew, enjoy, talk, and have some water. You’ll slow the meal process down and magically decrease how much you eat as well.
4. Keep your phone away: Keep your smart phone off the dinner table and away at meals. Constant email checking equates to constantly working, which disrupts your meal experience. I’ve had clients confess leaving dinners, shoveling food in their face, and emotional eating, all due to receiving a stressful work-related email at dinner. Bottom line: leave work for work time and meals for meal time.
5. Drink water throughout your meal: Hydrating throughout your meal gives you another opportunity to take more time to enjoy your meal. Far too often, we wolf down a meal in under 10 minutes. Ideally, you want to spend at least 20 minutes eating. Just like setting your utensils down, drinking water throughout your meal is an automatic way for you to slow down and realize when you’re really done.
Written by nutrition & healthy living expert, Corinne Dobbas, MS, RD