Eating Out Gracefully-Mindfully

You don’t have to let frequent travel, being out of the house, or working at mealtime get in the way of a healthy mind and body.

When you travel, it can be difficult to find quality food options. When you go to work, it can be daunting to prepare and pack a lunch every day. There is a minefield of convenience stores, fast food joints and junk food just waiting for you when you leave home-hard to resist if you are not prepared.

How To Safely Navigate Eating Out

Eating out often leads to eating too much—and too much of the wrong things.

These simple suggestions for dining out can go a long way toward keeping you on track with your health and wellbeing.

Discover some “slow food” restaurants where the atmosphere and ambience are soothing to your senses. Our eating environment influences how much we end up eating.

Enjoy ethnic cuisine including Indian, Japanese, Thai, Mediterranean (Italian, Greek, and Spanish), and Middle Eastern. You will reap different nutritional benefits from traditional ingredients such as lemongrass in Thai dishes, sea vegetables in Japanese dishes, curry in Indian dishes, and great greens such as escarole or broccoli rabe in Mediterranean dishes.  Of course, AVOID the bread and fried foods.

Ask questions about ingredients and don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions. Ask if a sauce has gluten or flour.

Mix and match menu items. If your dish has a vegetable you don’t particularly like, while another dish has a vegetable you adore, mix and match to get the healing foods you love. If your dish has breading ask if it can be grilled instead.

Start your meal with a Salad with a light dressing of oil and vinaigrette. It will help you to resist the bread basket and chips and salsa.  Maybe bring a few nuts to sprinkle on top.

    Pairing bread, chips and alcohol at the beginning of a meal plummets blood sugar which can actually make you hungrier, and the alcohol decreases your inhibitions, making it more likely you’ll make a play for the cheesecake.

Request “double the veggies.” Restaurants may overload the quantity of fish, meat, and poultry, only to skimp on the produce, especially the steamed vegetables.

Order a light drink. Try a Virgin Mary, sparkling water with a spritz of lemon or lime, or an herbal tea instead of alcohol before the meal. Or choose a low sugar drink. Vodka with soda water and fresh squeezed lime juice and/or unsweetened cranberry juice will keep the sugar content down and blood sugar even. Add a little bit of liquid stevia to sweeten.  Kombucha as a mixer can also be a good choice.  It adds a nice flavor and cleanses your liver at the same time!

Share a meal. Many restaurants still serve enormous portions. Size does make a difference! If sharing a meal is not possible, then ask for a doggie bag at the beginning of your meal and put the excess portions immediately in the container. That way, you won’t have to decide half-way through when to stop.

Check in with your gut-brain before ordering dessert. Rate your sense of satisfaction, and if you are a “3–Gently Satisfied” (1–Not Satisfied, 2/3–Gently Satisfied, 4/5–Too Full), then use your freedom of choice to skip dessert. There will always be another time for the perfect indulgence.

We’re social beings. Wonderful conversations and bonding happen over meals. Learning how to navigate eating on the go, out, and with others is super freeing!

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