by Levi Memmer
1. Look Up the Menu Before You Go
Many restaurants post their menu with nutrition facts online. Look the menu up online if they’ve posted it and choose an item that has lots of protein but not a boatload of calories.
2. Order Baked or Grilled Meats and Vegetables
Keep it simple! Try sticking with grilled or baked meats and vegetables. This will keep your ordering simple as well as keep your meals as clean as possible when eating out.
3. Prioritize Lean Proteins
In any plan designed to help you burn fat and improve your overall health, protein should be a cornerstone.
4. Choose Your Sides Wisely
Swap the fries out for broccoli. Skip the mashed potatoes and go for asparagus. Or maybe…just maybe, don’t order any sides (blasphemy, I know).
5. Avoid Fried Foods
This is a no brainer. Frying any food, although delicious, only ads calories.
6. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is going to help you stay on the clean eating wagon in a couple of different ways. First, when you’re dehydrated it often manifests itself as hunger. So, you eat. But you’re still dehydrated. You can see a vicious cycle starting to form. Second, most people fall off of the clean eating wagon when they are tired. Did you know that dehydration is the leading cause of daytime fatigue? So when you’re dehydrated, not only do you feel hungry but you’re also tired. That’s probably not the best combo for your waistline.
7. Order No/Low Calorie Beverages
Drinks, especially ones with sugar and/or alcohol, are the fastest way to add up unwanted calories. Water would be preferable to any other drink, but even a diet soda would be better than a margarita. I’ve been told by some of our clients that its in the constitution that they MUST drink alcohol when they go out to eat. If your name is in this same section of the constitution, go with the lowest calorie option that’s acceptable in your opinion. Order the lower calorie beer or mixed drinks with zero calorie mixers.
8. Build an Army
This isn’t only a dining hack but a life hack as well. Tell everyone you know that you are on a mission to improve your health. You’ll get eye rolls from some. You’ll get well placed pot shots from others. You’ll also get people who will genuinely be happy for you and want you to succeed. You want to build an army of these people. The more support you have the better. Lean on your supporters. The MOST important support you can get in your corner is that of your significant other and/or children, especially if some or all of them live under the same roof. If your friends and family know how important your health and fitness journey is to you, they’ll be more likely to make dining choices that support your goals. If they are willing to change some or all of their eating habits as well…even better! I’ve seen this with many of our clients.
9. Pump the Brakes on the Condiments
If possible go without sauces and dressing. If they are a must, lean toward lower calorie sauces and dressing. Put fresh salsa on top of your salad instead of ranch dressing. Order your burger with mustard only instead of ketchup or BBQ sauce. Ordering your condiments on the side will help as well.
10. Make the best choice possible
This sounds like a no brainer right? All too often a person will scan the menu, decide there is nothing on it that they can eat and proceed to order the most calorie laden thing on the menu. I’m not sure ‘YOLO’ is a solid nutrition strategy. You can still mitigate calories to an extent by making the best possible choice. Order a hamburger instead of a cheeseburger. Order a sirloin instead of a ribeye. Get chicken fajitas instead of steak. Hold the dressing, BBQ sauce or ketchup. Try to make the best of a not so optimal situation.
11. Slow Down
The slower and better you chew, the better your digestion will be. Chewing slower and better will also allow you to recognize when you’re 80% full, reducing the risk of you completely gorging yourself.
12. Eat Until You’re 80% Full
This is a tough one to gauge but as a general rule, you want to stop eating before you get completely full. At 80% full, you’ll feel satisfied but certainly not stuffed.
13. Ask your Server not to Bring Bread or Chips and Salsa
Neither of these items carry much nutritional benefit but they will add unneeded calories. Most people struggle with moderation in regard to these types of items as well, causing calories to add up even higher.