Healthy Eating While Dining Out
While Pure Plates can help make mealtime easier at home, dining out is something that can still be a struggle, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and even further from reaching your long-term nutrition goals!
Don’t let dining out get the best of you and keep reading to learn some of our top tips for healthy dining while out.
Don’t skip meals prior to eating out
Many people think that by skipping meals prior to a meal out that you’ll be “saving up” the calories to indulge later on. Instead of focusing on calories, you should be thinking of the way food is prepared, your protein intake, carb source, and other important aspects of a meal. Eating less earlier in the day also increases your appetite, causing you to binge or overeat at the meal. By eating food consistently and earlier in the day, you’re likely to feel satisfied and fulfilled during the day, ready for a solid and filling meal out.
By putting things in terms of calories alone, you’re also only thinking of nutrition in terms of a small view rather than the larger picture. While being calorie conscious may be beneficial for those seeking weight loss, thinking of the quality of the food that you’re eating and consistently providing your body with the energy it needs is the most important. We’ll talk about components of a healthy meal out next!
Protein is one of the key nutrients when eating out. If a meal skips on the protein, don’t even bother with it! Protein is crucial for keeping us full and satisfied. Adequate protein also helps us to reach our long-term health goals like muscle building and increasing energy levels. At least a quarter of your plate while eating out should include a solid protein source. Some of our favorite lean proteins are fish, chicken, beans, lentils, or turkey. The good news is, when you’re dining in with Pure Plates, your protein sources are taken care of for you! (Like right now we’re vibing with this Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Chicken).
If a fattier protein source, like red meat, sounds enticing, then lean into your cravings as a nice treat, or split entrees with another, as all foods can be included in moderation.
Make half of your plate vegetables
Most of us have likely heard that vegetables are an important food group to include more of in our daily routine. But what does this look like at mealtime, especially when eating out? Vegetables sometimes can be hard to find on a menu, but they’re there! Aim to make half of your plate vegetables, the best way that you can! Some ways that you can include more vegetables at your meal when dining out includes:
- Ordering a vegetable-forward meal
- Ordering vegetable sides or appetizers
- Splitting meals with someone else
Some of our favorite vegetable sides when eating out are broccoli, shishito peppers, or roasted carrots. When dining in, Pure Plates has plenty of options with our fully veg-friendly menu.
Focus on whole grains
Don’t skip the carbs! Carbs are an important component when dining out. Carbs are the brain’s #1 preferred source of energy. Carbs keep us full and satisfied and therefore keep us energized, productive, and concentrated all day long. Carbs when dining out are great to have, but it’s all about what you choose! Refined carbs are not our preferred source of energy because they leave us feeling lethargic, spike our blood sugar too quickly, and can potentially lead to weight gain.
Instead, focus on whole grain sources when dining out. Whole grains keep us full longer, promote a healthy gut, and take longest to digest. Some of our top whole grain sources include oats, quinoa, brown rice, barley, or farro. When dining out, aim to make a quarter of your plate whole grains. And remember, carbs aren’t the enemy!
Be mindful of portion sizes
Being mindful of portion sizes when eating out can also help you to stay on track with your health goals. We’re not talking about measuring out your food here but instead, listening to your body’s internal hunger cues and stopping when you are hungry! Most of us tend to overeat when we are out because we’re not paying attention to how our body is feeling and we’re usually in a “clean our plate” mode. Instead, slow down while eating, Pay attention to how your body is feeling. If full, take the rest of your food home for the next day.
When dining in, Pure Plates designs your meals so that they are balanced of the nutrients that you need. Your meals include protein, vegetables, and whole grains, which are all crucial foods to keep you satisfied longer so that you can live a fulfilling life.
Overall, dining out when we have certain health goals can be overwhelming and anxiety producing. It doesn’t have to be this way. Focus on these tips that we talked about in today’s article, in combination with your healthy meals prepared by Pure Plates, and you’ll continue to be on track with your health goals.