Eating Healthy While Eating Out: How I Manage

Thanks Denny’s for sponsoring this conversation on the Fit Fare menu. As always, all opinions are 100% mine.

Eating Out

I recently rejoined the YMCA. Yay!! Throw confetti at me so I can twirl. Ironically, deciding to rejoin the Y, was one of the hardest decision I had to make last week. Why? Well…

…this is my third time joining.

Eek!! I know. What’s really going on with my inability to follow though? And why am I constantly giving these folks money to prove to myself that I can’t follow through? Ugh, your guess is as good as mine.

But this time, it’s different.

It really is. This time I have a plan and I’ve already started implementing it. See, now I’ve brought the whole family aboard. We’re in this thing together. Jam has been signed up for soccer and gymnastics and we’ve even started working out as a family. I can’t tell you how much easier things are when you have support and everybody is on the same page.

But what about the food?

Well, that’s a good question. Attempting to live healthier and adopt healthier habits can completely be derailed with the wrong choices in food. I know because I’ve been there.  And it can take a lot of planning and prep work to make it all come together, especially when you throw in eating out. Ya’ll, I love to eat out. It’s actually one of my favorite things to do with my family and when I’m alone. I have absolutely no problem being the sole soul kicking it at a restaurant in a booth or table or at the bar by myself. I do it often and I’m not ashamed. But before I go off on a tangent on the beauty of being of being alone, I need to address the question of how I balance my love of eating out with changing my diet. It would seem kind of difficult, but it’s really not.

When I decided that I was going to address my weight + health, I did so under the stipulation that I would not stop living my life. I would not give up the things that I loved, nor would I guilt myself for enjoying this one life that I have. Nope, not gonna happen. I did, however, commit to making healthier choices when doing the things that I love. Like last weekend when I decided to treat myself (i.e. ditch my family) to a nice, solo breakfast at Denny’s. I totally could have chosen the yummy All-American Slam, but instead I chose the equally yummy Banana Pecan Pancake Breakfast and it was amazing.

pecan-banana-pancake-bacon-eggs banana-pancakes

Having never had bananas or pecans on or in a pancake, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. And how good I felt after eating it! I was satisfied, but not stuffed. Denny’s Fit Fare menu offers quite a few of these leaner, lighter meals. There are meals that are under 15g of fat, meals under 550 calories, meals that are over 20g of protein, and meals with over 8g of fiber. There’s really a lot to choose from and it’s awesome to be able to have those choices without jeopardizing your health goals.

In addition to choosing lighter and leaner options, I also choose water. Unless I’m at Denny’s in which case I choose mango lemonade because can we say, “lip smacking good?”  I am not passing that up under any circumstances, okay? No circumstances. Every other time, though, it’s water. I’ll ask for lemon or cucumber to spruce it up, but it’s still water. Having water is such an easy way to cut down on calories, without giving up flavorful food.

Another way that I manage to eat out whenever I want while keeping my lifestyle changes in mind is by not stressing. The first time that I attempted to change my eating habits, I restricted myself to the point that I was doomed to fail. I had never heard the words, “I can’t eat that” come out of my mouth with regard to something that I wanted and when I said it for the first time, I knew that it just wasn’t me. I was so stressed about if this had sugar or if this had x amount of carbs or how much fat was in this, that I couldn’t even enjoy my time out with friends. Plus, I was still hungry!! This time around, it’s different. I acknowledge that I might put a little extra syrup on my Banana Pecan pancakes or that I might have a mango lemonade instead of water at some meals, and that’s perfectly okay. My goal is to live a holistic life and not just be happy or great in one area, but in all areas of my life. That means being honest about what I want and intentional in my actions. So, no, eating out while becoming healthier is not that hard to do. Making it to the Y every night for exercise, though, is a different story.

What tips do you have for being healthy when eating out? Have you tried Denny’s Fit Fare menu?

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