Navigating Your Night Out

Or Night in…. With Take OUT

Studies have found that most people’s nutrition is significantly different over the weekends versus their week days. One study found that 19-50 year olds consumed, on average, 115 kcals more each weekend day. In a given year, that adds up to 17,940 additional calories or about 5#. 

Weekends are a time many of us like to let loose a little but we should find ways to enjoy our time mindfully! 

In this nutrition talk we are going to talk about navigating your nights out. Even if that means take out from your favorite place served in your own home. Let’s look at 4 settings you may find yourself in. 

Scenario #1- Sit Down Restaurant 

  • SKIP THE EXTRAS: A study found that the average appetizer when reviewing 245 restaurants contained 813 calories! That is more than an entire meal! An easy way to stay mindful of caloric intake is to opt out of ordering apps! 
  • STICK WITH WATER: Sugar sweetened beverages (including artificially sweetened diet sodas) increase risk of weight gain, diabetes, CVD, NAFLD, gout, tooth decay, and more. Choosing water is a great way to limit sugar intake at meals and will help to suppress hunger, allowing you to stay mindful.
  • KEEP IT SIMPLE: Stick to the plate method and use your hands as an easy portion guide. Don’t shy away from asking for a box to hide the extra food or putting the extra right in the fridge if you are home.
  • PORTION SIZE: There isn’t any shame in spilling a meal! Restaurant portions can get out of control. Keep you and your dining partner in check by splitting an entre and ordering a side salad.

Scenario #2- Fast Food

  • GET PROTEIN: Think about your lean sources of protein such as turkey, chicken, and fish. Find items that highlight those ingredients. 
  • GRILLED OVER FRIED: Choosing grilled options is an easy way to minimize calories as well as fat. 
  • CHOOSE BETTER SIDES: Over the years, fast food places have made an effort to offer additional sides that highlight a lighter caloric intake. These sides include fruits, yogurts, veggies, and salads. If you stick with traditional sides like fries, order a kids size! 

Scenario #3- Food Truck

  • CHOOSE THE BEST OPTION, NOT THE FIRST: Before you decide on a food truck option, be sure to check out all the options and choose one with easy staples that focus on protein, vegetables, and mindful portions. Taco trucks are an easy go to!
  • EAT WITH A FORK: Eating with a fork even when consuming options like wraps or pitas, found that it allows you to fill up on the nutrient packed filling rather than the carb loaded vehicle. An observation found that simply choosing a fork cut out close to 300 calories and 33 grams of carbohydrates. 
  • EAT AWAY FROM THE TRUCKS: The most important thing you can do to assure you are following your natural patterns of hunger and fullness is to T U N E  into them. Removing yourself from distractions will allow you to be more mindful leading to proper portion sizes.

Scenario #4- Parties

  • START THE DAY RIGHT: We know that when it comes to these types of events, we often have less control over our food options. Focusing our breakfast and lunch to aim for lean protein and vegetables with less fat is always a great way to stay balanced and leave a little extra wiggle room to enjoy the night. 
  • MAKE A PLATE: Not making a plate and picking off the appetizer or dessert table can lead to mindless overconsumption. Simply put, when the food is within reach, you are more likely to consume it. 
  • RETHINK YOUR DRINK: We want to stick with simple drinks that are not loaded with sugar and remember to keep a 1 to 1 ratio with water. This will slow down the alcohol consumption while minimizing its dehydration effects on the body! Clear liquors, light beer, and red wine are great options. 

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