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Weight Loss

5 Tips for Staying Healthy When Eating Out

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By Kristin Hedstrom

eating out with friends healthy kristin hedstrom
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!
beet kale quinoa salad

3. Don’t worry about being perfect.

You didn’t go to a restaurant to eat a salad with light dressing while everyone else has what they really want. So don’t be a martyr to your healthy eating. Ask yourself this: what’s a slightly better decision I can make in this moment? Maybe that means splitting your favorite chicken parm with a friend, or committing to taking part of your meal home for lunch the next day. If you've eaten well in the days leading up to it, you won't have to put so much pressure on yourself while you're there. 


4. Check in with how you’re feeling during the meal.

No one likes to walk out of a restaurant feeling ill from how much they ate, so make sure you’re doing little checks through dinner. You can do this while you’re sitting right at the table. Simply ask yourself: what’s my level of fullness right now? Am I starting to cross the line into feeling sick? Am I still hungry, or just thirsty? (I'm the annoying one who's constantly asking the server for more water.) 


5. Make time for exercise.

We made sure to move before dinner yesterday and took our Ridgeback on a trail run this morning. It feels so much better to get your heart rate up and your blood moving on either end of a meal out. It doesn’t even have to be that intense; going for walks is a great way to get some movement in.
 
 
As we all get vaccines and begin to emerge from our Covid bunkers, I hope these tips help guide you. Remember my 80/20 rule: eat really clean 80% of the time and don’t worry about the last 20%. If your dinner out with friends is your 20% for the week, then enjoy it!

a personal trainer, wellness expert, and an Olympic athlete. When I’m not dreaming up a big weekend brunch, you’ll find me helping women live healthier, more balanced lives. 

tell me more...

you'll love

3 easy weekday lunches

free at-home workout

3 secrets i've learned after helping hundreds of women lose weight

I'm Kristin

freebies

categories

top

weight loss

fitness

nutrition

wellness

olympics

personal

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I’m an east coaster turned Californian, personal trainer, and wellness expert who went from being the worst kid on every middle school team sport to representing Team USA at the Olympic Games (yup, ya read that right). 

My process has helped hundreds of women get fit and finally find sustainable health instead of yo-yo dieting, and it’ll do the same for you. I know you want to feel confident and in control, like, yesterday. I’ll teach you the tried and true techniques to ditching the all-or-nothing diet mentality and building balanced habits that ACTUALLY fit into your life. 

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