BY PETE CERQUA
It’s not always easy having a healthy meal in the hectic lives we lead. Even on a dull day it’s easy to fall on the wayside and sneak in a poor dining choice (or several). We can stock our kitchens full of healthy options, but when we are in the outside world, temptation is all around. Here are some tips to make good choices when dining out.
Are you able to get the menu ahead of time? Planning ahead with a full stomach and without the restaurants tempting smells will help put the focus on making smart choices. When you are able to look over the menu, try and hold yourself accountable for the following:
- Look for your lean proteins, turkey; chicken; fish.
- Substitute starches (rice, potatoes) for vegetables
- Stay away from the appetizers, free chips, breads.
- Skip dessert
What you put on your plate is up to you.
Enjoy The Experience
Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or relishing in the company of good friends, enjoy this moment in your life. By taking the focus off food and on the experience, you will gain the memories of a wonderful meal and not any extra weight. If having a glass of alcohol, have it with the meal, and not before. When was the last time you really sat down and enjoyed every morsel of food and conversation? Take this time for yourself. A fine night out does wonders.
Passing Pete’s Test
Did you nibble on a few breadsticks? Sneak a bite (or two) of cheesecake? Guess, what? It’s all mind games. If you tell yourself that you will not have any starch and sugar, you’ll end up eating only a reasonable amount of the stuff. If you tell yourself, however, that you are going to eat a reasonable amount, you’ll probably eat a lot of the stuff. It’s mental. In my three step eating out approach, the cheating is factored in.
So psyche yourself out of snarfing every delicious thing in sight. Realize that the experience of the meal is more important than the actual meal. Stick to the mindful food choices and treat yourself now and again to that tiny bite of mousse. After all, you are only human.
Pete Cerqua is a strength, health and wellness professional who owns and operates 90-Second Fitness in New York City. His bestselling book The 90-Second Fitness Solution and workout program have been featured on CBS News as well as O Magazine, Self, Health and Prevention as well as the front page of The New York Times.