Eat Well Within the Limits of Your Diet
Take a Healthy Home Lunch or Plan Healthy Meals in Advance Before Eating Out
Brown Bagging Lunch for Health, Weight Loss and Savings
Once you start dieting, you figure out that part of your problem with food might have been eating out too often. Particularly when it comes to lunch time, it is all too common that folks eat lunch out either at the work cafeteria or a restaurant.
Bringing your lunch to school or work (instead of buying it) is a great way to stick to your food plan and cut back on calories. When you bring your lunch with you, you can control what you put in your mouth—for that reason alone, planning your home lunch and bringing it with you every day is worth it.
Are you new to bringing your lunch from home? It’s not hard to get started although it will take some planning on your part. Here are some suggestions for packing your own lunch:
- Invest in an insulated, reusable lunch container. These days, there are tons of options available online or locally.
- Buy several different sized containers for portioning out your food. Did you know that there are even plastic reusable containers with a little plastic cup for salad dressing and a larger plastic bowl for your salad? (It’s my favorite lunch to bring with me to work because these bowls make it so easy!)
- Purchase a thermos so that you can take warm soup to work or school with you.
- If you don’t have a fridge available to you for storing your lunch, pick up some reusable ice packs to pack in your lunch so that your food stays fresh (and safe).
- Fill your fridge and pantry with lunch foods like bread, meats, cheese, low calories snacks, fruits and veggies.
- Assuming you have a microwave available for heating up food for lunch, you can bring leftovers. They make an easy and healthful lunch. Just put aside a portion of dinner for the next day’s lunch. Store it immediately and you have lunch all ready to take the next day.
- If you don’t have a way to reheat leftovers, a sandwich with veggies and fruit will be satisfyingly filling for lunch. You should probably prepare your lunch the night before if your mornings are rushed.
- If, at your work, your coworkers are used to going out to eat lunch, often it can be difficult to be the only one bringing lunch from home. Talk to your work colleagues and see if you can start bringing your lunch together and support your mutual goals of getting healthier. If you need to leave the office to keep up your diet resolve, try taking your lunch to a local park or another nearby pleasant area.
Taking your lunch to work can save you thousands of calories over time and it will definitely wear less on your wallet. By making this simple change for one meal a day, you can find yourself realizing your weight loss goal much quicker.
Eating Smart When Eating Out Requires Research and Planning
Staying focused with your diet is always easier when you skip eating out. However, going to restaurants is hard to avoid especially if you travel for work or go out socially.
Don’t think that you have to ignore social occasions that call for dining out. You can go out to eat, making smart food choices and eating healthy meals all the while. Here are some simple steps for eating out and still doing well on your diet:
- Suss out the menus before you go. Lots of places offer calorie info online for the dishes they serve. Ifthe restaurant doesn’t put its menu online, you can get it faxed to you. Checking out the menu in advance enables you to plan what you’ll order when you get to the restaurant and you’ll be less likely to want to eat something off-plan.
- Go for the grilled entrees on the menu. Avoiding fried foods means you’ll eat fewer calories and healthier overall as well.
- As your side dish, request steamed veggies. They’ll taste good and fill you up with minimal calories.
- Be careful with salads. Often we assume that they’re healthy but restaurant salads may contain hidden calories, particularly in the salad dressings, cheeses, croutons and other available toppings.
- Most menus have a lighter food section where all of the entrees are healthier. Look for that area of the menu to order from.
- If you can’t find something suitable on the menu to eat, consider creating your own healthy entrée by ordering a la carte items that meet your diet requirements.
- Create a list of your best menu options at different restaurants on your smartphone or on paper and keep it with you. When you’re away from home, you’ll have that info with you so that you don’t have to re-research healthy food options every time you eat out.
- If you know you’ll be eating at a restaurant with fewer options fitting into your food plan, try to eat lighter for the rest of the day so it doesn’t feel like you’ve blown your diet with this one meal eaten out.
Sticking to your diet when eating out isn’t impossible. You can enjoy the convenience of having food prepared for you in restaurants and stay on plan. Healthy eating at restaurants is possible with some advance planning.
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