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June 01, 2015

5 Tips on How to Dine Out & Stay Healthy

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 out socializing, but perhaps even help you to better enjoy your time out on the town. 

5 Tips for How to Dine Out and Make Healthy Choices

  1. Hydrate. 
    One of the most important factors in both staying fit and feeling full is being hydrated. A steady water intake clears toxins from your system and keeps you running optimally. 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 of water right before leaving the house. Once you are out alternate 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, check out our assortment of True Citrus lemonades. They are easy to slip into your purse or pocket for a night out.
  2. Use the buddy system.
    It is 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 the company you keep largely influences your restaurant orders (a phenomenon sometimes described as 'subtle peer pressure'.) If you can help it, make plans with people who share your health-conscious values. You will find it much easier to make the kind of decisions you can be happy about.
  3. Reduce distractions. 
    Bars and restaurants, especially during their busiest hours, are generally high-sensory experiences. Between loud music, TV's, your phone, your friends, and 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 has been proven that eating more mindfully (concentrating on what you are eating while you are eating) not only helps you to better enjoy your meal, but also helps you to better recognize when you are full enough. So, choose a table far from the TV's, put your phone in your pocket while you dine, chew every bite slowly, and relish every sip!
  4. Remember, atmosphere matters. 
    It turns out that indulging in a calming 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 harsh lighting and loud music are often much more distracting, and therefore unconsciously cause us to indulge more than usual.
  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 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 on healthy 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 can influence what kinds of food and drinks we put into our bodies, as well as how much. Being prepared ahead of time and staying aware of your habits will set yourself up for success when dining out!

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    [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.]