Over a year into the pandemic, we’ve all been conditioned.
The “phone, keys, wallet” check when leaving the house has had a plus one: “phone, keys, wallet, mask.”
When Hans and I got invited to our first outdoor dinner with friends after getting our vaccines, it felt a little…strange.
Like we were emerging from our comfy, cozy Covid bunker and dipping our toes into real life again.
The thoughts that went through my head in the week leading up were somewhere along the lines of: "are we really going to take our masks off around each other? Less than six feet apart?” It felt so forbidden, even though it wasn’t.
Despite my hesitation going into it, it was the most fun night I’ve had in recent memory. We sat for 4 hours, I laughed harder than I’ve laughed in over a year, and we left with full hearts. Friends are awesome.
You know what I wasn’t expecting from this dinner?
Feeling fuzzy on my tried-and-true strategies for eating out with friends.
I’m not the kind of person who tells you to eat one way and then doesn't do it myself; I practice what I preach. Like you, I want to let loose and have fun with friends but not leave the restaurant feeling gross from overeating.
Between the constant chatter and wine that somehow kept appearing in our glasses, it was easy to get lost in the moment. For those of you aiming to live healthier and lose weight, eating out can feel like a bit of a minefield.
Here are my top 5 tips for staying healthy while eating out with friends:
1. Preview the menu beforehand.
I forgot how hard it is to make a sound decision on what to order when you’re with others. Maybe it’s just that we were all so excited to see each other, but between catching up, there’s barely time to look at the menu. When this happens, we tend to take a quick glance so we can get back to chatting rather than really studying the menu. This could very easily be the difference between making a healthier decision or not. My trusty Yelp app is my #1 solution for menu perusing on the way there.
2. Eat well before and after eating out with friends.
If you know you’re eating out for dinner, eat clean for breakfast and lunch. Aim to get lots of fruits and vegetables along with homemade, non-packaged food for those two meals. You could even extend that into the following day. I made apples + cinnamon oatmeal this morning, then a big beet, kale, and quinoa salad (pictured below), and a little gem salad tonight, so we could send ourselves into the week feeling clean. And with leftovers for lunch!