It’s easy to stick to a healthy lifestyle when you’re at home. You can stock up the fridge with fresh produce, prepare your meals to your most stringent specifications and keep temptations at bay by not bringing them into your pantry.
The only problem is that you simply can’t expect to eat at home every single day for the rest of your long, healthy life. Instead, you want to lead a social life that is as fruitful and rewarding as the mindful diet that keeps you fit, focused and happy. To maintain your most important relationships, you may have to eat out every occasionally, to catch up.
Of course, these types of plans can cause dieters stress. With such careful home preparation of meals, it might be hard to put your trust in a new chef and a new menu. However, the following are five ways to stick to your healthy lifestyle without foregoing the engaging, important, social side of life.
1. Check the Menu Beforehand
One of the ways you can stay focused on your health goals while eating out is to check the restaurant’s menu before you go. Try and pinpoint the healthiest food on the menu and settle on that as your meal when it’s time to meet up with your significant other, friends or work colleagues.
If there are talks of arranging a dinner but no agreed upon location, be the one to choose. You don’t have to take your friends to a salad bar or other notoriously healthy dinner spot, though you can if they share your fit-minded ideals. Simply pick an eatery where you know you can get a mindful meal regardless of what everyone else orders.
2. Beware of Your Beverages
Chances are, your healthy eating habits do not include a nightly serving of soda, beer or fruity cocktails. These drinks are notoriously high in calories — a can of soda can have 140, while a can of beer can have 150 — and that takes away from the amount of filling food you can eat alongside them.
When you’re out with friends, stick to low- to no-calorie beverages. Have your water served sparkling if you miss the fizz and bubbles that come with a fresh glass of soda. Avoid diet sodas, though, as the artificial sweeteners can be just as unhealthy as the sugar in normal pop. If you plan to drink, stick to lighter libations like vodka with soda water or wine.
3. Say “Yes” to Starters
You’re probably imagining a big plate of potato skins, mozzarella sticks and chicken strips and thinking, “Really?!” But these aren’t the kind of starters we’re talking about. Instead, make a point to order a nice vegetable-filled starter. A salad always works, or you can check out the side dish options for steamed seasonal vegetables or another healthily prepared veggie.
4. Don’t Go on an Empty Stomach
You might think that in order to make up for going out to eat, you should eat a lot less than you normally would throughout the day. But showing up for dinner with an empty stomach means you’ll end up eating way calories than you would during a typical meal, whether you ate at home or at a restaurant.
The best practice is to start your day with a healthy, protein-filled breakfast that’ll boost your
energy and keep you feeling full. Then, keep your metabolism stoked with healthy snacks like
almonds, Greek yogurt and hummus. Two to three hours before dinner, eat one such snack that
adds up to 200 to 250 calories.
5. Remain Resilient After Drinking
In many cases, a night out for a few light cocktails isn’t going to completely bloat, derail and discourage you. (This is especially true if you drink water alongside each libation: this will keep you hydrated and reduce much of the next-day aches, pains and cravings.) The more damaging decisions are the ones you make once your guard is taken down with a bit of booze. For many people, it’s hard to say no to unhealthy snacks once there’s alcohol in the picture — they crave slices of pizza, chips and other snack foods but would be able to avoid them
with stronger willpower. If you’re going to drink, then, make a conscious decision to stay true to your health goals. Stay away from snacking and, if offered, politely decline. You’ll wake up happier the next day, we promise.
In fact, all the above tips will help you maintain the peace of mind you feel when choosing to live a healthy lifestyle. It’s easier to stick to your guns than you may think, especially with a bit of thoughtful planning. So, take the above suggestions into consideration and find the ones that work best for you. Then, go out and enjoy life as you would: you can have it all with the right mindset.
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.