We have been living in difficult times for the last couple of months. In many places, the “shelter at home” restrictions have been lifted or are not as strict anymore. Many of us cannot wait to be able to hang out at our favorite spot and enjoy good food and some social distanced company. As we start venturing out of our homes, it’s important to continue to make good decisions when it comes to our food choices. Making a smart choice in a restaurant can be tricky. That’s why I want to give you some tips of how to successfully navigate eating out.

Have high standards

Most restaurants are willing to change the way things are cooked if they have the ingredients to do so. Sometimes veggies are drenched on butter or other sauces, so ask for them to be served with no extra sauces and just salt and pepper. When ordering your protein ask for grilled instead of fried and also ask for it to be cooked with only salt and pepper and not buttery sauces. That right there will save you a ton of hidden calories.

Don’t be afraid to ask

Ask about how the food is being cooked. Ask about other side dish options. Most places will allow for substitutions. So instead of getting the regular side of fries, ask for a side of seasonal veggies. Even entrees that are typically known to have a specific side dish can be changed. For example my husband always orders chicken parm with a side of veggies instead of the usual side of pasta. The bottom line is: know what you want and what you are working towards achieving and don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Knowledge is power

Understanding what it is that you are ordering is essential to making good decisions. For instance, anything with the words “creamy, stuffed, cheesy, au gratin or buttered” refer to items that have been cooked with butter and/or cream which makes them higher in fat and calories. Boiled, grilled or steamed items are usually lower in fat and hidden calories so those are the words you want to look for.

Choose you calories wisely

Remember that losing, gaining or maintaining weight is a matter of “calories in vs calories out”. A lot of things play a role into the calories we burn and the calories with consume. However, controlling the calories we drink is one of the easiest ways to meet our caloric goals. Instead of ordering drinks high in sugar, order water. Drinking water with your meal will help you feel satisfied quickly and will keep you from over eating. Even if you are ordering another “adult” beverage, I recommend ordering water as well. This way you won’t go overboard with how many drinks you order. As a rule of thumb, I recommend eating your calories instead of drinking them.

With everything opening back up, I understand the want to go out and feel “normal” again. However, I also know how hard you work at the box to meet your goals. One bad meal will not keep you from your goal (just like one good workout won’t give you a six pack, trust me, I’ve tried) but many days of eating out will take you farther and farther away from your destination. Next time you go out to eat remember these tips and you will feel better knowing you made the best decisions for yourself. If you have any questions about how to reach your goals, ask any of the coaches at Celebration CrossFit. You know we are happy to help.

by coach Keren

keren