Darleen Barnard is Certified Health Coach and Certified Personal Trainer who specializes in weight loss by using the power of the mind.
How to Eat Healthy While Traveling
I have worked with thousands of weight-loss clients throughout the years and learning how to eat healthy while traveling is a very common stumbling block for a lot of them. Let’s face it – eating out every day can be a challenge!! When we go out to eat, we indulge in yummy foods that we wouldn’t normally eat at home. And restaurants have a vested interest in making sure their food tastes amazing – even if it means high saturated fat, calories, and sodium! The restaurant gains a great reputation for delicious food and we gain pounds and inches! So how can we eat out at restaurants that don’t prepare a lot of foods to help us lose weight while still staying on track with our weight loss goals?
Review the menu in advance
Thanks to the internet, most restaurants now have their menus online. AND, thanks to the FDA, restaurants chains with more than 20 locations are now required to post the calories on their menus! The advantage of looking at the menu before you get there and hopefully reviewing the calorie content, is you can usually make a smarter choice. As soon as we walk into the restaurant, we smell the food. We see the food on other people’s tables as the hostess walks us to our table. Our senses get overloaded with sights, smells, and sounds. If we can make the decision before we get to the restaurant, we don’t have all of those other temptations pulling us in the opposite direction of our goals.
Drink more water
Drinking water may be the easiest way to eat less food without feeling deprived as you learn how to eat healthy while traveling. The benefits of water are numerous, but when you go out to eat, water is going to help fill you up faster. Drink a glass of water as soon as you sit down at the table. Make it a goal to drink a full glass before you even order. Then try to drink one more glass after you order and before you meal arrives to the table. Two glasses of water will definitely fill you up and will help you not over eat once your food arrives. Of course, you may also order another beverage of your choice, but if you do, try to alternate between your water glass and your beverage throughout the meal.
Decline the bread basket
Some restaurants will ask you now if you want the bread basket. If they bring it without asking, you can tell them you don’t want it. If you are dining with others who do want it, just ask them to keep it on the other side of the table. If you really want a piece of bread, then go ahead but decide in advance that you are only going to have one piece and tell your dining companions that you are only having one and ask them to hold you accountable. Support and accountability from others is a huge driver in our success!
Box up half of the meal as soon as it arrives
Another easy way to cut back and learn how to eat healthy while traveling, is to ask the waiter when you order to only bring you half of the meal and box up the other half in the kitchen. We all know that portion sizes at restaurants are out of control these days. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to finish everything on your plate. You don’t. And you shouldn’t. If you box up half of it before you even start, you are setting yourself up for 50% fewer calories. Out of sight, out of mind.
Share the dessert
Or, skip the dessert all together! A lot of people like something sweet after dinner, so if you absolutely have to try the dessert, share it with the other people at your table. You can either ask for multiple spoons or forks or you can just ask the waiter to bring some extra plates and split it when it arrives. Either way, you will consume significantly fewer calories by sharing. And save some money too!!
For those wine drinkers out there, here is a VERY popular tip!! Mix 50% wine with 50% seltzer water. Half the calories and half the alcohol!
Put your fork down between bites
This is going to force you to slow down. No question. It also isn't limited to the restaurant! You can even drink more water by taking a sip of water after every 2-3 bites to continue filling you up.
Even if you only try one or two of these tips, you will save a significant number of calories when you go out to eat. Try 1, 2, or 3 tips or all of them! Comment below if you have other tips that you have found helpful. Happy dining!
© 2018 Darleen Barnard
Darleen Barnard (author) from Henderson, NV on November 17, 2018:
Thanks for your feedback Beth!! Yes, the benefits of water are endless from skin to organ function to simply feeling better. Thanks for sharing!
Beth Allison from Maryland on November 16, 2018:
Great article! I try to do most of things when I know I will be traveling. I especially try to drink more water because there are so many other benefits to that as well!