5 Rules For Eating Out

In Blog, Uncategorized by Matt Klingler8 Comments

Why can eating out derail weeks of excellent progress?

Sure, it’s easy to make good choices at home in our familiar environment. But once we hit a restaurant, it’s as if all bets are off and we eat to no end!

Eating out has been a big personal struggle for me. I often overeat when I dine out and always regret it.

But, making a few key changes to how you order and view the whole experience of eating out can drastically decrease the dent it makes in your results.

Today, i’m going to provide you with specific rules to keep you on track no matter where you are eating.  

But, here is some sage wisdom which sums up all of my rules for eating healthy when you’re eating out from the 26th president of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt:

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

The rules

Well, the first rule of eating out is you don’t talk about eating out!  Not actually, but Brad Pitt must be quoted at times.

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Eat Mindfully

Eating out should be an enjoyable experience. But often, we scarf down the food so quickly, we barely take time to enjoy the experience. I love the law of first bites: The first bite of a meal or the first sip of a drink will always be the best. Take time and savor the first bite. Maybe all you need is one bite of a food or sip of a drink to experience it.

Try to think about the food you are eating while you’re eating it. Take breaths between bites. This brings me to my second tip, eat slowly.

Eat Slowly

Strive to be the last one done with your meal when eating out in a group. After the first first few bites, take a break from eating to have a conversation. It takes a while for your stomach to tell your brain you are full. The slower you eat, the more likely you will be to stop when you have reached a good level of fullness.

Stay with protein and vegetables whenever possible

Go with lean protein (chicken, fish, bison, eggs) and vegetables whenever you can. OBVIOUSLY you have to get the french fries from the restaurant which makes the best fries in LA (The Back Abbey fries their fries in duck fat…really, duck fat!). But, do you really need the bread they bring out before a meal? Usually it isn’t excellent and it’s not worth the calories. Better yet, ask the waiter not to bring out any bread at all.

Adopt the no dessert mindset

Go into battle (I mean dinner) with the mindset of “I will not order dessert.” If you often eat out with a dessert-lover (as I do), you may need to have a DTR (Define The Relationship) talk about not ordering dessert.

Does this mean you never order dessert again? No way! But, you shouldn’t mindlessly order dessert. Only order dessert when it’s really good and savor every bite.

Don’t suffer from FOMO!

This is the fear of missing out. This is especially tough for me. When food is expensive, I will eat all of it because I paid for it. I think it has to do with a desire to get my money’s worth. I also feel the same when I go to a high-end burger restaurant. I usually order a burger and fries and my justification for finishing the meal is that I don’t often go to these restaurants. This is FOMO in action. When you eat something because you don’t think you’ll get to eat it again (or at least not for a while) or because you paid for it, you are eating out of fear.

This type of thinking will lead to overeating.

I may be preaching to myself here, but you don’t need to order the bacon burger, beer, and fries every time you eat out. They will always be there. You can get them another time. Your goals and health are more important than the minutes of enjoyment you will get from the food.

You also need to keep in mind the law of first bites: the first bite will taste the best. Each subsequent bite will be less tasty and satisfying. Make sure you enjoy the first few bites of a meal out or special occasion dinner. Don’t feel like you need to order something unhealthy just because you may not have the chance to eat at a restaurant again.

Final Thoughts

Eating well is difficult. Eating out makes it even tougher. Try to make eating out a special occasion. If you rarely eat out, you can enjoy the foods you want, slowly and in moderation, without feeling guilty.


    1. Author
      Matt Klingler

      Glad to help! The more we notice our fear of missing out on food and do something about it, the better our health will be!

  1. Sheila Waters

    For me, choosing to go to the place where I know they have something I really enjoy, even though it costs more, keeps me on track. For instance, I wouldn’t choose to go to a Mexican restaurant when I’m on track with working out and eating healthy, because I know I’d eat things that I’m trying not to eat or trying to limit. Instead I would spend more and “treat” myself to a restaurant where I know I love the sea bass and steamed veges.

    This thinking even worked for me at Disneyland yesterday! I knew I was in trouble going to my happiest place, because I usually make sure and have the beignets and/or a double scoop of my favorite ice creams on Main Street when I’m at Disneyland. Lucky for me though, I go there all the time, and I know the foods available to me there, as well as I do where I live. I chose to go to Steakhouse 55 at about 10:30. I had eaten breakfast early, so I knew this would fill me up for the remainder of my time there, since I was planning to leave at about 1:00. Their breakfasts are fabulous! I had an omelet made with my choice of ingredients: mushrooms, bell peppers, onion, and avocado. It was served beautifully with an assortment of perfectly ripened fruit and whole wheat toast. It was amazing, as usual! To top my dining off, I ordered the hot tea, which is served in a cute little pot with all of the fixings. Eating there costs a bit more, but spoiling myself while eating healthy really works for me!

    1. Author
      Matt Klingler

      Shiela, I love this thinking.

      I think eating out should be a treat. We should eat out infrequently enough that we can splurge a bit.

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jordan Magro

    Wings are my weakness. Especially when they’re only 70 cents at Buffalo Wild Wings. I tell myself to stop at 10 but find myself suffering while chewing the 15th.

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