How many times a week do you eat out? When I say, Eating out, that includes prepared foods from stores, at restaurants, and at parties? Some restaurants are better than others, some grocery stores are better than others, and some family gatherings and parties are healthier than others. However, they all share the same problem. The problem is that we don’t know what the ingredients are, we don’t know how clean the facility was that it was prepared in, we don’t know portion sizes. Eating outside of your home can slowly accumulate extra calories, unhealthy ingredients and more. I’m not saying that you should never eat out, but I am saying that it is important to be aware of these 6 reasons why eating out could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts.
6 Reasons Why Eating Out is Not Good For Weight Loss
- Low Quality Oils– I shouldn’t have to explain this but remember that vegetable, soy,
corn, and canola oils are not good for our waistline or our health! They high heat process used to extract the oils causes the oils to become rancid and then once ingested cause inflammation in our bodies. You can read more here.
- Portions– There is a huge temptation to eat it everything on our plate especially if you paid a lot for it. Portions are almost always to big when eating out.
- Lack of Balance – a balanced meal should have about a palm size portion of protein, two handfuls of vegetables, maybe a starch if it’s after a workout, and thumb size serving of fats. How many restaurant meals actually contain all of this?
- Low quality meats, dairy, and eggs- It is expensive to eat quality food. Most restaurants are interested in profit and not our health. It does make a huge difference where our food comes from and how it was raised! Read more here.
- High Salt Intake-The recommended intake for sodium in a day is 1500mg. Most restaurant meals contain that or more in one meal!
- Hidden Ingredients– Even if you think you ordering something good, like a salad there could be hidden ingredients that you would never imagine. I’ve heard of sugar in the marinade for chicken at Panera, plastic in the bread at Subway, Chemicals used to wash bagged lettuces for salads, lots of sugar in salad dressing, anti-caking ingredients in Wendy’s chili that are disgusting, gluten snuck into what should be gluten free items and so much more. The point is we don’t know. We don’t the ingredients, we know the hygiene levels, and we don’t know how old it is.
What can you do?
- Eat at home before you go out.
- Choose the restaurant that you go to. Do not just go with whatever your friends or family choose. Be the one to suggest a place that you know has items on the menu that you feel are healthy and balanced.
- Choose items on the menu that are the most “REAL.” By this I mean choose a piece of grilled fish or meat with a side of vegetables. Choose a salad that is balanced- has protein, lots of colorful vegetables, and some sort of healthy fat like avocado or olives. Use Olive oil and Vinegar as your dressing.
- Order first. Do not be persuaded by what others are ordering. If your friend orders the pasta and you really wanted it you may end up losing your will power and choosing it. But if you order first you can set the example because chances are your friend is trying to choose the salad too.
- Drink sparkling water before your food arrives. Do not order your wine or beer until your food arrives. Studies show that drinking alcohol before a meal can lead to eating more of the bread before and more of the meal when it arrives. Studies also show that drinking Sparkling water before your meal may increase satiety, decrease overeating, and aid in digestion so it’s good plan!
- Get a TO GO Box right away if it looks like the portion size is more than what I mentioned above. (A balanced meal should have a palm size portion of protein, two handfuls of vegetables, maybe a starch if it’s after a workout, and thumb size serving of fats.)
Just to clarify again, I don’t think that eating out once in a while is going to completely ruin your efforts at eating healthy and eating for fat loss. However, the more often you do it the more likely you are to be victim to the above mentioned devils of eating out. The more you will accumulate calories, salt, unhealthy ingredients, and unbalanced meals! So try to limit eating out as much as possible if you really want to lose fat or stay slim and healthy. My goal is to only eat out once a week. When you do eat out follow the above rules and make the best choice possible each time!