Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to make a list of all the things we want to change or do in the coming twelve months. For many, this list will include something along the lines of eating healthier, losing weight, getting fit, etc., etc. If these themes resonate with you, you’ve come to the right place. Wanting to feel energetic, youthful or just downright good in your skin takes work. That’s why I’m telling you to skip your New Year’s Resolution this year if it has anything to do with getting healthier. Tear that paper up, remove it from your daily calendar, delete it from your brain. Yep, this dietitian is giving you permission to quit before you start, because eating healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a once-a-year, write-it-down, eat-a-few-salads-in-January-then-go-back-to-bad-habits-come-Valentine’s-Day kind of thing. Ask yourself how many times eating healthy or losing weight has been a resolution – and how many times did you stick with it? Don’t get me wrong….. I’m all for goal-setting. But it’s important to set S.M.A.R.T. goals when it comes to eating healthy and losing weight. Otherwise, you’ll give up and never achieve what you set out to do.
Dining out is such an integral part of our lives, and it can either sabotage or support your goal of getting healthier. So, I’ve compiled a few tips to help kick start your new lifestyle. If you just so happen to start on January 1st, that’s great! Add these tips to your S.M.A.R.T. goals, and you’ll be on your way to a whole new you:
Tip #1:Know before you go – Start looking at the nutrition information available for restaurant meals. You may notice that some of your favorite menu items are pretty high in calories, fat and sodium. Even better, use the HealthyDiningFinder.com mobile site to help you find the healthier options right away (without having to wade through a huge nutrition chart at the restaurant or on the restaurant’s website).
Tip #2:Order “on the side” – Order sauces, gravies and dressings on the side. Dip your fork in the sauce before you take each bite and you’ll still get all the flavor and easily save a few hundred calories.
Tip #3:Do not join the clean plate club and slow down – OK, that’s two tips here. Be mindful of what you are eating and listen to your body. If you are full, stop. Just because something tastes unbelievably delicious does not mean you have to finish all three pounds that are served on the plate in front of you. It takes the brain 20 minutes to catch up to your stomach to signal that you are full. So take some time while you savor every bite that goes into your mouth. Food is meant to be enjoyed, not inhaled. If you realize there is more on your plate than you can finish – wrap it up and take it home for another meal (make sure you refrigerate and reheat properly at home).
These are just a few tips that this food-loving dietitian has for dining out with your health in mind. Do you have a specific restaurant nutrition question you are dying to ask? Use our “Ask the RD” feature on HealthyDiningFinder, message us on Facebook, or tweet your question, and one of our “ restaurant nutritionistas” will respond!
Nicole Ring, RD
Director of Nutrition