One of the more popular topics I find myself discussing with clients is dining out. For most people, there’s tension around the subject and honestly...there’s just no need for that. In fact, dining out isn’t just something I encourage, it’s a critical component in developing a whole, healthy relationship with food. Personally, I would have serious fomo not being able to peacefully enjoy restaurants and events. The overall food experience just isn’t complete without the ability to venture out with confidence.
I rely on a couple plan-ahead practices that have completely changed the way I approach food away from home. When I devote the time in advance to a little planning, I spare myself the panic of making in-the-moment decisions.
Indulgences first. Yes, plan your indulgences first. What I mean is to thoughtfully plug in the moments when you’ll treat yourself to food that’s pleasurable and not necessarily healthful. If we’re traveling, I always want to experience the local offerings that the destination is known for. In order for me to do this without guilt, I need to be sure of 2 things:
1) I’m taking an active, intentional approach. In other words, I’m in control of when and where these moments are happening and
2) I balance them appropriately with healthful, energizing meals and activity. I follow a 90/10 rule and encourage my clients to do the same. If 10% of the time, we eat simply for pleasure, anxiety melts away. Those moments are planned for with intention. We own them, they don't own us. The goal here, though, is to ensure the other 90% is just as enjoyable as the 10%. That’s where learning to chose healthy food that also satisfies is equally as important.
Do your research. Look up places that offer food that aligns with your intentions. Read the online menu in advance, make your choices so once you’re there, you’re prepared. This practice will help you be present to simply enjoy the experience instead of battling decisions when temptation is in your face.
If every time you dine out, your body crashes and burns, your brain stores that information. Your association with the experience will always bring on negative thoughts and feelings unless you refresh your approach. Avoid the food coma by choosing food that fuels you (we're talking about the 90% here). There is a time and a place for indulgent meals, but we're selective about those mmkay? If you’re dining out at brunch and know you have an entire day of activity ahead, you’ll regret ordering the stuffed french toast and bottomless mimosas when you’re half asleep within the hour. Enjoy those indulgences when the timing makes sense for your day ahead (liiike when your plan is to Sunday Funday in your sweats and online shop;). I like for my food to fuel what I'm doing and also be part of the fun. Finding the flow between satisfying cravings and energizing our day is the goal. Foods that provide long lasting energy are the same ones that help to curb appetite and manage cravings...
Avoiding foods all together demonizes them and leaves you jonesing in an unhealthy way. Instead, I believe in inviting them into our lifestyle in an intentional and moderate way (this is the whole purpose for planning them into your routine first). We all experience moments of weakness, when our cravings tame us...like when our blood sugar is low and our bodies scream for quick energy. These are the times when carrying snacks with you is a good practice. Not that I want you to live your life on bars and bags of trail mix so that you don’t overeat in social settings…BUT it will put you ahead of the blood sugar curve during those touchy moments. I always carry things like individual packets of Rx Bar nut nutter and Epic Bars just in case I get held up and go a little too long between meals. The key here is to make sure that your snacks are working for you and not against you. Aim for high protein, high fat options. High carb snacks will help you rebound in the moment, but will leave you more strung out once you metabolize them.
In any setting,
I have a few universal meals in my mental arsenal that I know make me feel great.
Tips to keep in mind:
Don’t overcomplicate things. Make your decisions and be in the moment.
For satiety purposes, aim for high protein, healthy fat and high fiber carbs (fruits and veggies).
Most importantly, lose the idea of perfection. Just let that sh!t go.
Veggie omelet with avocado + potatoes or side of fruit (so good homegirl's always lasered in and trying to steal my food;)
Grapefruit juice mimosa (if I’m drinking)
Coffee with almond milk + stevia
Grilled chicken sandwich with mustard, pickles, lettuce + tomato
Unsweetened iced tea with lemon + stevia
Avo toast on sourdough with a poached egg or
Egg and cheese on whole grain/gf bread or wrap
Almond milk flat white with cinnamon + stevia
COUNTER SERVICE MEXICAN
Brown rice bowl with chicken, veggies + guac
COUNTER SERVICE MEDITERRANEAN
Greens and rice with chicken, veggies, feta or avo and hummus
Small filet with mushrooms
Roasted or grilled veggies
House salad with olive oil + vinegar
Berries for dessert
Ginger salad or miso soup
Edamame or blistered shishito peppers
Alaska Roll or King Crab California roll with brown rice
Guac with raw veggies like jicama, bell pepper and cucumber (just ask)
Chicken fajitas with extra peppers + onions
Skinny marg with fresh lime + good tequila
Arugula or cucumber and tomato salad + feta
Marinated artichoke hearts
Chicken limón, cacciatore or grilled salmon
Cappuccino with foamed almond or soy milk
I hope you're able to carry some of these recs along with you on your summer adventures. I'd love to hear where you're headed! As always, please don't hesitate to holler if you're looking for more individualized guidance. Click here and scroll down to book a session with me.