So you’ve been trying to eat healthy of late, adding more veggies and cutting out the junk food on your plate. One evening your friends decide to go out for dinner. You go along, thinking you’ve done enough to merit a small indulgence and your willpower will keep you from overdoing things.
However, there’s something about restaurants that seems to kill even the strongest healthy-eating resolve. Maybe it’s the smell of delicious food that you haven’t had for so long or the seemingly endless variety on the menu. More often than not, you end up undoing all the good work you did on your diet recently by eating much more than you originally envisioned.
Luckily, maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t mean having to give up on eating out altogether. Try these five science-backed tips to help maintain your healthy food habits.
1. Water Is Your Best Meal Companion
Can’t decide on the best beverage to go with your meal? Look no further than water. A 2009 study found that people who drank 500ml of water half an hour before a meal consumed fewer calories and lost 44 per cent more weight than those who didn’t. Water makes the perfect replacement for sugary drinks that most people like to drink at restaurants, cutting down on calories as well as costs.
2. Engage Your Mind As Well As Your Mouth
Your mouth is definitely having a party, but your mind shouldn’t be neglected. ‘Mindful eating’ means giving your full attention to the eating process, including the aroma and taste of the food as well as the emotions it evokes within you. Research conducted by scientists at the North Carolina State University has linked mindful eating to eating less and losing more weight.
3. Order Quick, Order Smart
If you want to keep your caloric intake under control, the best thing to do is to order before everyone else—research reveals that waiting to see what everyone else is going to order influences your own choices. What you’re ordering is just as important—according to a study, people are likely to eat more when they’re served bigger portions. Keeping that in mind, ordering two appetisers instead of one appetiser and one main is a smart way to cut calories!
4. Sharing Benefits You As Well
‘Sharing is caring’ is something we’ve all been told ever since we were children, and a study reveals this childhood lesson to be extremely effective when it comes to eating out. If you see something on the menu that you really want to try out, find someone who’s willing to share it with you to avoid eating too much.
5. Don’t Stress Too Much
Having stuck to a healthy diet for a while now, we get that you want to eat your favourite meal without having to worry about what it does to your health or your diet. We’ve got some welcome news for you—research suggests that the occasional cheat meal actually makes you adhere to your diet better! As long as you follow your healthy eating plan for most of the time, your favourite junk food once in awhile won’t make much of a difference, and will actually rid your mind of a lot of built-up stress!
Don’t let food get the better of you when you head out to eat—science has your back!