When we are at home it is a lot easier to watch what we eat, but that is not true when at work. Unfortunately most people will spend a lot of their time outside because they work full-time jobs or they go to school. Even a night in town can translate into more calories than you could ever want if you are not paying attention. While most of us will settle for one small problematic meal a day, that one meal can become the thing keeping you from being healthier. It is not unheard of that a single meal from a restaurant can have over a thousand calories and sometimes even double that.
Bring Your Snacks
You should always bring your own snacks when you are going to spend a good chunk of the day outside and you should choose your snacks wisely. What you snack on is a big part of a healthy meal plan. The best types of snacks that you can have are fruits and vegetables because though there is calorie content, there are no trans-fat, saturated fats or empty calories. Try baby carrots or an apple which can both be filling and very nutritious. Try to avoid the vending machines when you want to snack on something especially the soda ones as even the diet versions are bad for your diet. Some of the vending machine snacks will give you the "illusion" of health, but when you read the ingredients you will find all the things that you do not want to eat. Drinking plenty of water will also help you lower the need for snacking.
Get To Know Your Food Options
A big problem when eating out is that sometimes you just do not have any healthy options available. Your only option might be a fast food restaurant close to the office, so it would be better to bring your own homemade food with you. If you cannot bring your food, then make sure that you know what you are eating before you buy. Most chain fast food restaurants and even some casual restaurants will have nutritional information on their website. Look and compare all of your options. It surprises a lot of people to find out that having a salad is similar and sometimes even worse than the burger meals.
Do Not “Super-Size”
Super-Sizing your meal is a sure way to sabotage your healthy meal plan. You would be consuming a bigger soft drink (a small one is bad enough) and more greasy fries. I am not the one to tell you that the fries are not good, personally I like to have them once in a while, but the secret is to only have them once in a while. Some fast food restaurants will offer healthier options so that you can replace your fries; if the one that you frequent has that option then take it. Make sure that you check your options to confirm that what you replace the fries with is actually better for you, otherwise you may think you are eating healthier when you are not.
Soft drinks are a problem because they are not really providing any nutrients. You are getting a drink with a lot of sugar and/or calories and that can make super-sizing it an even bigger mistake. Look for places where you can replace a soda with something like an orange juice. The other better option is to not go with a meal and simply bring your own drink. You can chose to make your own fresh fruit juice or simply have water.
Drinks After Work/Happy Hour
It is very common for people to get together after work for a few drinks. You should not necessarily stop yourself from having fun, but you should know what you can order without killing your diet. Of course light beer is a lot better than regular beer, but you should still try to limit yourself to one. Some of the best options include Beck’s Premier Light which has only 63 calories and 3.8 grams of carbs, Amstel Light with 95 calories and 5 grams of carbs, Miller MGD 64 with 64 calories and 2.4 grams of carbs, and Anheuser Busch Light Pale Lager with 95 calories and 3.2 grams of carbs.
If you like cocktails, then your best option is vodka on the rocks and maybe a splash of juice. Most drinks on the rocks are better options, but some cocktails are really bad for you due to the high calorie content. Alcohol in itself (one oz. 80 proof) can have 90 calories, and when you add the syrup for your cocktail that number can climb really high. The best example is a single Piña Colada will have more calories than the most popular fast food burgers.
If there is a restaurant you and coworkers are going to after work, you could see how much information you can get on the menu. If the information is not available online or at the restaurant itself, then you will need to talk to the food server about what ingredients are replaceable so that you can keep eating healthier. One example would be creams. The restaurant may have low-fat creams available for the people who ask. Have vinaigrette instead of creamy dressings on your salad and ask what oils they use for cooking a meal if any. Having baked chicken or fish is usually a lot better than breaded or fried, so try that.
Other things to try to avoid when you are going to a restaurant are creamy soups and dressings. They are full of hidden calories and fats that you just do not need. It is better to go with a broth based soup and a vinaigrette for your salad. another option that can help bring out the flavor of your salad without all the things that could negatively affect you is to simply sprinkle some lemon on the vegetables. You want to use very little of it as that will be enough to let its acidity bring out the flavor. Remember, there are usually better options that will let you live a healthy life and avoid sabotaging your diet.