Over the next serves like posts I would like to point out several common hurdles that almost every person must face in order to achieve their fitness goals. These hurdles are not impossible to jump over. Simply follow these tips when your next dilemma arises and you will be in the fast lane to the finish line!
Hurdle 1: Eating out
Due to travel, occupation, or personal preference, some people tend to eat a large percentage of meals at restaurants and other fast food alternatives. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with that, it just means it’s a little harder to track the foods you eat as your plate might be loaded with hidden ingredients(butter, oils, salt, sugar, etc.) that you are unaware of, especially if you have little to no interest in food preparation. HOWEVER, it is possible to go out yo eat and still maintain a healthy diet. You just need to know what to ask for. Follow these strategies to make smarter food choices:
1. Choosing custom meals.
Yes, you can order things that aren’t exactly on the menu. You can easily alter and make adjustments if you just gain the courage to ask!
Step one: Look for lean protein sources. This will usually be chicken, steak, beef, fish, eggs. You can always ask for extra meat!
Step 2: Look at how it is prepared. Grilled and broiled are safe terms. Be careful when an item is sautéed, baked or fried. When in doubt, ask how things are prepared. You want your Items to have little to no additives like oil or butter.
Step 3: Lower the carbs. If your entree comes with a side of things like pasta, rice, beans, potato you are NOT force to eat it. Nobody is going to shove it down your throat but you. If you don’t have the willpower to move it to the side of your plate, then ask the waiter/waitress to remove the item from your order. By doing this you won’t have to look at the carb source on your plate and feel tempted to eat it. (There are only two exceptions to this rule 1. is if your goal is to gain muscle, then order clean carb options. And 2. If this meal falls immediately before or after exercise. Read my article on Peri-workout nutrition.)
Step 4: Double up on the vegetables. If your entree doesn’t come with veggies then order some AND while you’re at it, add a side salad. Vegetables(unless coated in marinades) are basically limitless. I have never heard of anyone getting fat from eating too many veggies.
So let’s give you a scenario. It’s mom’s birthday and she wants to go to your favorite Italian restaurant for dinner. There are so many delicious creamy, cheesy, aromatic entrees to choose from, but you have that pool party to go to tomorrow and the very last thing you want is to show up in your itty bitty bikini with a little pasta food baby. You stumble upon “Sirloin Marsala *comes with one side and a cup of soup or side salad” Normally this simple dish can range any wear from 800-2000 calories. Say what?! (For some of us, That’s almost as much as our allowed calorie intake for the day!) But, with strategic planning we could bring this entree down to about 350 and still rock that bikini tomorrow. When you go to order say “I’ll have the Sirloin Marsala but without the mushrooms and gravy, a side of seasonal vegetables without any olive oil or butter please, and a house salad, dressing on the side.”
2. Look up the menu in advance
inquiring in advance will help you (and the company you are with) order in a timely manner. If you know you’re going to a particular restaurant you can almost always look up the menu online and explore your options. This is a great way to avoid restaurant sabotage. If you go to a particular restaurant often enough, pick out a few go-to options that conform to your nutritional plan.
I understand, it is extremely difficult to make a smart choice when you are surrounded by carbohydrate heavy, sauce-laden, diabetes-inducing foods. It takes extreme bouts of willpower to resist, especially when the people you are with are chowing down without a care in the world. If they care about you they will respect your healthy decision making. They might actually want to be healthy too!