When cooking at home, healthy eating is much more attainable. You can control what goes into your dishes, you can make meals fresh, and and your portions are completely up to you. Eat a meal out, and you’re often confined to a small, restrictive menu, and you have no idea what ingredients are going into your food. In a perfect world, we would all prepare our meals at home, but many of us live on-the-go lives, so making dinner isn’t always an option when you have errands to run and meetings to attend.
When it comes to eating out, you don’t always have to go for the worst option. Knowing what to choose can help keep your healthy eating habits in line. Next time you need to pick up some grub when you’re out and about, try following the below seven tips for healthier options when eating on the go.
1. Bring Snacks Wherever You Go
Your number one rule of thumb should always be never go anywhere empty handed. Keeping fruit, bars, or nuts on you will keep you from getting overly hungry and turning to heavy and fattening foods as a last resort. Snacking every few hours will help keep your blood sugar and metabolism steady, preventing you from turning to unhealthy foods like fast food or dessert.
2. Stay Hydrated
People oftentimes mistake their thirst for hunger. Sipping water all day long will keep you full, as well as provide you with a steady boost of energy. Bring a refillable water bottle with you rather than getting water while you’re out, as it’s much easier to fill your bottle up multiple times that aim to drink eight cups from different plastic water bottles or the water fountain.
3. Start The Day With Breakfast
Starting your day off with a balanced breakfast of complex carbohydrates, fat, and protein will not only give you energy throughout the day, but it will keep you filled up and prevent you from overeating later. Studies have found that people who eat a high-protein breakfast at the start of the day end up consuming less calories later in the day, so start your mornings off with something hearty like toast and eggs to stop yourself from getting too hungry while you’re out.
4. Plan Ahead
If you know you have a busy week ahead or won’t be home for long periods of time, try meal prepping a day or two before. Putting together a lunch or snack that you can bring with you is a good alternative to eating out, and you can also pre-make a dinner to be waiting for you when you get home. Look at your calendar at the beginning of the week, and pick a day where you have free time to meal prep for the rest of the week.
5. Stick To Black Coffee
If you’re hitting up Starbucks or your local coffee shop, it can be tempting to crave a sweet treat like a blended drink or flavored macchiato, but these lattes are filled with sugar, artificial flavors, and heavy creams. Drinks like these can sabotage your healthy eating in a flash, as you are consuming much more sugar than you realize. Drinking your coffee and tea black, or sweetened with a little bit of Stevia and a splash of milk, is a much healthier option
6. Choose Grilled, Not Fried
If you have no other options left but to get fast food, make the most of your experience by picking the best options off the menu. Choose grilled chicken over fried, pick fruit over french fries, and get sauces and dressings on the side to use sparingly. Ordering an item from the side menu is also an option, as entree portions are usually quite large and more than necessary for an individual’s meal.
7. Make Substitutions
If nothing on the menu suites your fancy, create your own dish! Many restaurants and food chains allow modifications, so ditch the heavy dressings, substitute your iceberg for romaine, and leave the American cheese off your burger. Having the most control over what you eat is how you stick a healthy diet, so don’t be afraid to speak up to get the food you want.