Living in Los Angeles there are so many amazing options for dining out. Restaurants pop up every day, and who doesn’t love trying out the new Korean-French-Icelandic fusion where they tell you what you want before you even look at the menu. Unfortunately though, eating out can mean huge portions, a bloated walk back to the car and even a rough night’s sleep when it’s all over. It doesn’t have to be this way, so here are a few tips to help you enjoy your meal without feeling guilt and discomfort afterwards.
1. Start with a glass of water
When you sit down at a table drink a full glass of water. Thirst is often confused with hunger so many times we eat more than we really want because we’re not feeling satiated. Drinking water can cut back your chance for overeating and prevent you from drinking during or after the meal, which makes it difficult for you to digest your food properly and leaves you feeling heavy and bloated.
2. Don’t let that bread touch your table
We all know warm bread is delicious and irresistible, but no need to fill up on it before a meal. Most importantly, you don’t want it hindering your ability to enjoy and finish that $17 dollar Hamachi plate, so politely decline and enjoy your main course fully.
3. Only drink water or wine
Sugary drinks, be it soda, lemonade or a Jack and coke, are a bad idea in the first place, but during a meal they are especially harmful. A very important hormone in regulating hunger and satiety is leptin- in basic terms it tells us when we’ve had enough to eat and signals our brains to tell the body to stop eating. Sugar interferes with that hormone, compromising our ability to eat moderate portions which can end in overeating and horrible guilt. Additionally, drinks should be sipped during a meal, so slowly enjoy a glass of water or a tasty red while eating.
4. Order Sides or Starters for your main dish
Generally, the portions served in restaurants are absolutely huge. Many times we tell ourselves we’ll eat half and take the rest home, but I don’t know anyone who really has that kind of self-control. Side dishes are much more reasonably sized and if you order a few as a table you can try different things. Keep in mind, ordering a side of garlic bread and mac and cheese does not count. But, a veggie plate and a salad might be nicely complimented with a small side of fries. Enjoy yourself, just don’t overindulge! Sharing a small starter and a main course with a friend is also a good way not to overdo it (and save money!)
5. Have a desert at home for yourself
If one look at the desert cart gets you salivating, having self-restraint can be difficult at the end of a meal. This is why it’s good to have a desert at home to look forward to that’s half the size and half the sugar content of that chocolate-mocha-caramel cheesecake. Personally, I love Hail Merry chocolate peppermint tarts. They are delicious and very satisfying (not to mention raw and vegan) – half of one is usually enough for one person. Find a desert that you look forward to having at home so you won’t give it up for a seductive treat on the menu. Taking time between dinner and desert also gives you time to digest and for your body to realize that you’re full, so at home you’re likely to eat less than you would have at the restaurant.
Eating out should be fun, not stressful, so use these tips and you’ll sail through the holidays with ease and keep your body trim.