healthy choices in restaurants


Is Your Social Life Ruining Your Healthy Eating Habits?

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Is your social life hindering your healthy eating habits? It might be an after-work drink that kicks on into after-work drinks, or hanging out with the friend who convinces you going to the dessert restaurant after dinner is a fantastic idea. Regardless of what it is, if you have gut problems, sensitivities, or are just trying to make healthier choices with your eating, it's time to take responsibility for your own actions.

In this article I'm going to share some tips to incorporate your healthy eating habits into your social life.

Before you go to a restaurant read the menu and see if there's things you're able to eat, or if you're able to request changes. Restaurants that won't accept menu alterations will usually have it written on their menus. 

Familiarise yourself with cooking terms if you haven't already. Examples:
- Blanch: plunging fruits and veg into boiling water for a very brief period of time and then refreshing them in ice or cold water to cease the cooking process.
- Poach: cook a food by placing it in simmering liquid.
- Steam: cooking food in an enclosed environment infused with steam.
You get the idea, I'm sure ;)

I always opt for water as my drink when I am eating out at a restaurant. There's no need to choose juice, soda, or alcohol to ruin whatever healthy option you're going to choose to eat.

[...if you're up for it... QUIT ALCOHOL]
Temporary or permanent ban, it's up to you. This is a tricky one, but the health benefits that can come from it (and the money you will save) is well worth it, in my opinion anyway. It's now been about 6 months since I've had any alcohol! Is it a permanent change, who knows, I don't like to feel locked in, but it's definitely had a huge impact on the overall effect my diet and exercise has on my body.

Many people use alcohol as a social lubricant. Without it you will actually have to develop some confidence and charisma. This might seem daunting, but did you know that alcohol will inhibit your human growth hormone (which your body needs for recovery and growth) by as much as 70% in the days following a night of drinks.  That's a lot of gym work down the drain, especially if you already have a sluggish metabolism or thyroid issues.

Host a dinner where everyone brings over a meal to share! This option means you can wow (or horrify) your guests with your culinary skills... or lack thereof, and you can have a casual evening in with good company and food that suits your needs!

Ask the waitstaff how something is cooked if it isn't suggested in the name of the dish. And request small changes to adapt your meal to suit you, e.g. for my keto maintenance I'm most likely to ask for "no rice and double veggies". One thing to overcome with this is the mental hurdle of feeling like you're being a hassle or making someone go out of their way for you, feel free to ask, this is your health that you're trying to look after.

Remember that it's totally fine to let yourself relax and not feel restricted by your choices. If you struggle with keeping on top of this and keeping yourself accountable set yourself a set time, or set allowances for having your relaxed meals (treat meals, cheat meals, whatever you like to call them). For example, every Friday night, or two allowances per week. This is just to ensure that you knowhow often you're eating things which don't suit your goals.

Overall, it's important to find a lifestyle that suits your goals and works best with your body. So whether you're vegetarian, keto, vegan, fodmaps, sugar-free, or any other plethora of diet-styles out there you'll need to make your lifestyle work with your eating habits, rather than thinking the food you have to eat is a chore and getting in the way of your social life. Find ways to enjoy the whole lifestyle change, not just tolerate them!