Avoid Eating Out!

I love New Orleans, and I love the great cuisine this city has to offer. I have to admit to taking advantage of eating out from the many tasty restaurants in the region. To be honest- meals have ranged from succulent grilled shrimp salads to the juiciest fried food available. (But, just so you know… I did ask for lettuce on my Po-Boy to make it healthier, of course! :)) Like many in this city, eating out is part of the culture.

Not only did I realize that I was spending way too much money on eating out, but I also sat back for a second, and thought about what was really being put into the foods that I was eating. Were the chef’s hands clean? Was the food fresh? How many grams of saturated or trans fat did I eat? Eating out suddenly became less tempting.

After coming to terms that I will never know the answers to these questions, I went to the store and stocked up on vegetables, fresh fish and whole grains to “reset” my body. After a meal or two of healthy food that I cooked, the day became brighter, I had more energy and my mind was sharper.

Go figure?

Clearly, I was on a streak. My diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and legumes took a back seat to ordering “to go.” Order out one night, then the next night is just as convenient, and then the weekend is here. Your friend calls you up, and before you know it you are picking up another menu.

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with eating outt. It’s convenient, the food is great, you don’t have to cook, or worry about doing dishes afterwards. And it is okay to enjoy “fun” foods occasionally. The problem; however, is with streaky eating out.

When you eat out for many meals in a row, the calories pile on, you get used to eating large portions again, and you waste a lot of money over the long-term. From my many streaky, unhealthy eating experiences, I learned a few things that I will share with you:

  1. Set a schedule. Having a plan is of utmost importance in staying healthy. Whether it be mental or written down, you have to have one for each week. Plan to cook at least two to three meals per week and eat leftovers for one or two days after. Allow yourself to loosen up on the weekends, or on days when you plan on going out. Go to the store, buy your ingredients, and cook your meals.
  2. Alternate. I encourage you to choose the healthiest meals a restaurant has to offer when eating out. However, there is always that particular “signature” dish that is your Kryptonite. Understandable. Simply make a deal with yourself to alternate between your healthy choice meal and the less than healthy choice your prefer. Try to eat only half to 3/4 of what you are served and you will be okay.
  3. Learn new recipes. ┬áLet’s face it. If you are a good cook and can make food that taste just as good as restaurant-quality food, then you have it made. You know exactly what you are putting in your food with your own clean hands, and you are saving money in the long run. Besides, learning new recipes is not only healthy and convenient, you become an “artist” in the process, as each meal is indeed a work of art. Take the time to do some research. Look up new, healthy recipes and try them out for yourself.

What do you do to avoid unhealthy, eating streaks? Share your thoughts below!