Heading out to a hip new restaurant or an old favorite bar with friends has become a large part of our culture. Whether socializing at happy hour or splurging on a fancy meal, dining and boozing outside of the house – though certainly fun – can unintentionally throw a wrench into your diet plan. Luckily, we have gathered some tips that will not only help you to keep your health in check while socializing, but perhaps even help you to better enjoy your time out on the town:
1. Hydrate: One of the most important factors in both staying fit and staying full is staying hydrated. A steady water intake clears toxins from your system and keeps you running functionally. If you know you are going out to eat or drink towards the end of the day, start hydrating as early as possible and drink a full glass right before leaving the house. Once you are out, try alternating glasses of water between alcoholic beverages; a strategy that will help you control your appetite and your wallet. If water is not an easy drink for you to consume, or, if you prefer to change it up occasionally, check out True Citrus’s assortment of flavoring products, which let you love your water your way and are easy to slip into your purse for a night out.
2. Buddy System: It’s hard to be “good” when surrounded by people who do not value health in the same way that you do. In fact, there is evidence showing that your company largely influences your restaurant orders (a phenomenon sometimes described as a “subtle peer pressure.”) If you can help it, make plans with people who share your health-conscious values, and you will find it much easier to make the kind of decisions you’ll enjoy at the time and feel good about afterwards, too.
3. Reduce Distractions: Bars and restaurants, especially during their busiest hours, are generally high-sensory experiences. Between constant music, TVs, your phone, your friends, and interesting conversations going on all around you, it can be easy to find yourself only half paying attention to what you are putting into your mouth. It’s been proven that eating more mindfully (i.e. concentrating on what you are eating while you are eating) not only helps you better enjoy your food and beverages, but also helps you to better recognize when you are full enough to stop eating (and perhaps, when you are inebriated enough for the evening). So, choose a table far from the TV’s, put your phone in your pocket while you dine, chew slowly every bite and relish every sip!
4. Atmosphere Matters: It turns out that indulging in a helpful atmosphere can be just as influential on our eating patterns as our friends are, so when you are choosing where to dine, opt for environments with a mellower, more romantic ambiance. According to research, environments with harsher lighting and louder music are often much more distracting to us, and therefore unconsciously prod us into ingesting and indulging more than we normally would.
5. Start Off Strong: Nobody is perfect – and we at True Citrus know as well as any just how important it is to live a little. But if you are going to allow yourself to indulge, do so towards the latter end of the meal instead of at the beginning. Evidence from a Cornell University Study found that buffet goers who filled up with foods like fruits, vegetables, and salads first ended up consuming less unhealthy foods throughout the meal. So start your night off on a good foot, with a big glass of water and a nutritious appetizer, before treating yo’self to the carbs and sweets.
There are so many (unexpected) factors that influence what kinds of food and drinks we put into our bodies, and how much of it at that. Let us know if any of these tips were helpful to you, and feel free to add any of your own strategies for staying healthy while dining out of the house!
[Credit: “7 Surprising Secrets To Eating Out Healthy.” Health.]
[Credit: “What is Mindful Eating?” Am I Hungry?]
[Credit: Chan, Amanda L. “6 Weird Ways Your Environment Affects How Much You Eat.” Huffington Post.]