How to Make Better Choices When Eating Out.

Or don’t, and just enjoy something that you really love! Just not too often.

A lot of people may disagree with me, but making healthier choices when eating out isn’t always the best way to go in my opinion.

This advice won’t apply if you’re eating out a few times a week. But if you go out to eat every now and then, I honestly don’t see much benefit in choosing the grilled fish and salad when down to your very core, all you really want is a burger and chips! How long do you think your motivation is going to last living like that??

You usually eat food from home, cooking, feeding and cleaning up after everyone, what pretty much feels like constantly. Packing your lunches for work each day and meal prepping on a Sunday.

Then you finally manage to get out! (Socially that is, not work or dropping the kid’s places) Maybe you even put some make up on and a nice outfit?! You go girl!! And instead of enjoying yourself for a couple of hours, you put a bunch of food restrictions on yourself that detract from some of that enjoyment.

This is not the way to go!

Don’t get me wrong, of course if you have allergies and you’ll spend the next few hours running to the bathroom because you couldn’t say no to dairy, then that’s probably not the best idea. But if its all about the weight loss and eating clean, there’s a lot to be said for being flexible enough to know that occasionally letting your hair down isn’t going to do you any harm. In fact, done right, it can renew your motivation and you go back to eating well straight after. No need for guilt, starting your diet again next week, or having a major blowout and feeding your face for the next 2 days before you feel that bad you give up on eating well for a while.

I read some stats that said Australians spend on average 30% of their food budget on takeaway. OK so that’s a lot, and if this is you then you might want to reign it in for best results. If you indulge in whatever you want 30% of the time you’ll struggle to stay at your best that’s for sure! But if you eat out once every week or so and eat fresh whole foods the rest of the time? I say get whatever takeaway you feel like, enjoy the heck out of it, ditch the guilt and get back to your normal healthy eating the very next meal.

I was having a look at some of the advice that’s out there for ordering takeaway and of course most of it makes sense. Avoid deep fried foods, have smaller portions, choose water over juice or soft drink. You probs don’t need a professional to tell you that though, that's all fairly obvious.

I also came across a lot of what I think is maybe misleading advice, that things like Subway rolls and McDonalds wraps are healthy choices and it’s OK to eat them on the regular. They aren’t and it isn’t. They might be a better option than some, but still not a healthy option overall.

Starting out as a nutritionist I quickly realised that the best nutritional advice in the world is totally useless if you don’t take life into account. I felt really down when people didn’t do exactly what I advised and then didn’t feel better like I knew they could.

Balance, flexibility, having a healthy relationship with food so you don’t have to go on the diet/binge cycle constantly, changing habits slowly until they don’t feel like hard work anymore, that’s how you get healthy and stay healthy for the long term. Yes, it’ll take longer and you might not fit into that super tight dress by next weekend, but if those methods worked you wouldn’t be starting a new health kick every few weeks. You wouldn’t need to.

I’d say I definitely make better choices when I eat out now that I used to just naturally because that’s just what I feel like eating. But I also wouldn’t hesitate to eat a pizza or dessert or whatever I felt like on occasions and not think twice about it, because it helps keep me eating well the other 95% of the time. Although you’d also never see me eating a Chiko roll and a Coke either because I don’t think they even qualify as being food so I just wouldn’t enjoy eating that, its not because I’d love to but don’t think its healthy.

Give yourself a limit if you’re someone that needs a plan or structure. Allow yourself one meal out per week to start with, instead of just randomly eating out and before you know it you’re eating out a few days a week and its starting to affect the way you feel.

Eat well most of the time, make your own meals using whole fresh ingredients and eat intuitively. More often than not you know what foods make you feel like shit, so don’t eat them!! Then loosen the reigns occasionally and don’t feel guilty about it.

With Love

Belinda X


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