If you’re anything like me, that guilty feeling after a fast food pig-out stays with you for a while. We like the convenience of fast food, and we definitely love the taste! But what is it that we don’t like?

 

The calories, fat, salt and sugar! All of which set off the aforementioned guilt trip that we go on immediately after we’re done consuming our 1/3 lb combo meal.

 

Like so many other things, nutrition is about balance. Indulging yourself is absolutely fine - but everything in moderation! Unfortunately, for most people, fast food and takeout are more than occasional indulgences - they’re weekly, if not daily, occurrences.


Studies have shown that restaurant meals are higher in calories, fat, sugar and salt than meals prepared in the home environment, and also put you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, and obesity.

 

However, a healthy diet doesn’t have to mean you have to skip out on time with family and friends. Instead of staying at home and missing all the fun, equip yourself with the right know-how so you can maintain your social life AND eat smart!


Follow my tips to help you maintain good eating habits!

 

1. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR MEAL:

Don’t feel hesitant to speak up about your preferences when ordering at restaurants! Take control when ordering a meal by:

 

  • Skipping free offerings:The bread basket that greets you at the table may be your downfall! Although understandably, you are usually ravenously hungry once you are seated, filling up on complimentary carbs can add unwanted calories fast.

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  • Personalizing preparation methods: Restuarants are pretty good at offering low-fat cooking options such as grilling, baking or roasting. If you want to ensure you stick to your meal plans, don’t be scared to ask the chef to hold the butter, as well as skip the sauce and oil!

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  • Navigating the menu: There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to order each item you want, even if what you’re after isn’t paired together on the menu!

 

2. DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES!

Cutting out the sweet drinks such as soda and alcohol is an easy strategy to help reduce overall calories when dieting (and should be something you are already doing even when eating at home!).


Always opt for water, or if your sweet tooth is really yearning for it, a diet beverage. Save your calorie bank on indulgences for the main course!

 

3. ORDER RIGHT: PROTEIN, VEGGIES THEN CARBS!

Focus primarily on consuming your protein and vegetables before moving on to your carbs! Protein and high-fiber veggies help to slow digestion, which helps make you feel fuller, faster.

 

By placing an emphasis on these two items from the start, you're less likely to overindulge in a creamy, sugary dessert because you're already full.


4. WATCH YOUR PORTIONS

Many restaurants serve huge portions, and many people feel the pressure to clean the plate. Request a to-go box when your meal arrives and put away the leftovers when you feel you’ve hit your limit and bring them home for another meal!


And remember, it's okay to splurge on fast food once in a rare while - we're only human!