There is something about eating out, right? It’s the thing that kills our diet and our bank accounts. We are busy families these days. We are tired, strapped for time, and there is a place to eat around every corner.
Let’s be honest, mommas! Is it really the actual food that we love when we eat out.? Maybe there is a special dish at your favorite place that you like to go on your anniversary or birthday, but I’m not talking about that kind of eating out. I’m talking about the kind that goes like this. You’re on your way home from whatever sporting event you’ve been to all day and this happens…
Mom: Hey, what do you guys want for dinner?
Family: We don’t care.
Mom: I’m exhausted and there is really nothing thawed. I can’t muster up the energy to stare into the fridge and use my creative brain to come up with something. We need to go out!
ANNNND…everyone is happy!
You know eating out is really about not having to think isn’t it? It’s about not having to please anyone and not having to clean up. I can only think of a couple of dishes that I will look forward to eating and make it a destination to go out somewhere specific to eat them. But, the local Mexican joint is just too damned convenient, right? Drive through anyone? Ugh…sure.
How do we stay on track with our defined fitness goals if we eat out regularly? You can’t just throw in the towel because you’re not at home. We are NEVER at home anymore. I was just discussing this topic with some of the ladies at my boot camp the other morning. It’s not the food, it’s the convenience of eating out that takes us there. Sometimes cooking a meal is not an option and we all know it. The Crockpot still takes planning, and let’s face it, someone still needs to be home to eat the well-planned meal.
So I was thinking about what I typically do when faced with this situation (quite often) and I’m dieting for a competition. If I don’t have my food with me I have a few things I can pass along for you all. These strategies take discipline. It can be difficult, but if you’re serious and you want to make this a lifestyle, these are the things you need to do.
- Download the MyFitnessPal app on your smart phone. Do it now. You can use any app that is similar but this is the one I use. Usually whatever you are thinking about ordering at a chain restaurant will have already been put into the food database. Look at the numbers. Have an idea what you are getting before you pull up to the window or walk in there. TRUST ME! The smell will cloud your decision-making ability! Ex: fruit for fries, no bun on the burger, salad minus the cheese, dressing, and crunchy topping. Seriously, have your mind made up! The running joke in my house is that mom will get whatever her phone tells her to get. I’m ok with that. We all have our strategies to stay on track and this is mine. Sometimes I make the not-so-healthy choice, but at least I am making an educated decision.
- Be willing to “tide yourself over” until you can get home and have a better option. Sometimes I am really hungry and I know I can’t make it another 2 hours to get home to my healthy meal. There is always a way. I’ll grab a protein bar from a convenient store (not always the best ones but we are compromising), or I’ll order a grilled chicken sandwich and just eat the chicken and throw out the rest. I’ve been known to send the family into the fast food place while I run across the street into a GNC or even Kroger and grab a yogurt, pre-made salad, sushi, or a whatever I can find. Think about “filling the hole” until you can get home. I understand hunger. We do what we need to do.
- Chipotle is my friend. I LOVE this place! Their ingredients are pretty clean and you can watch them make it right in front of you and tell them exactly what you want. Here is my staple. Salad with chicken, grilled veggies, green salsa, pico de gallo, and a SIDE of guacamole (important to do side because they give you way too much). DONE….no dressing needed and right on plan. LOVE IT! The same concept holds true for Subway! Chopped veggie salad and pile it on with a little oil and vinegar. Add chicken or turkey if you want.
- Mexican food can happen. Everyone has a local Mexican joint that’s just easy and everyone loves it. Here’s my go-to meal. Salad greens with fajita meat and veggies, A side of guacamole, and salsa on top. DO NOT ORDER FAJITAS UNLESS YOU’RE A PRO AT THIS BECAUSE YOU’LL EAT ALL THE SIDES AND THE TORTILLAS. Keep the chips on the other side of the table or count out about 12 and enjoy them but if you can stop at 12 chips, you’ve already figured all this out now so we’re done! : )
- WATER! Please…do I even need to say this about soft drinks, sweet tea, or lemonade. I don’t think so but if your one of those “I don’t like water” people who I don’t understand, feel free to get unsweetened tea. I don’t have anything else to add here except, YOU KNOW BETTER THAN THAT! : )
- The most important tip is this! Keep in mind that THIS IS JUST A MOMENT! Remember that this shall pass. Food is simply fuel for your body and you don’t HAVE to eat anything. No one is forcing you to make bad choices. No one says, “You’re at McDonald’s, so you have to get a McFlurry!” Take responsibility for yourself and make it work. You’ll be so proud of yourself after that moment is over the next time will be even easier! You got this!