As the holidays come and go, most Americans find themselves dining out more often than not. According to the National Restaurant Association, most Americans go out to eat an average of 4 times per week. When they are dining out, we as a country are spending about 1 billion dollars per day. The population count in the U. S. according to the Census Bureau is 310, 751, 194 people which equates to approximately $365 billion dollars per year. That means each household is spending around $1, 117 per person per year on dining out alone. As this number increases so does the waistline of America substantially increasing our obesity rate. As our obesity rate increases, so does the risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes. The cost of dining out is much higher than people realize. If you ate at home versus dining out several times per week your savings and disposable income would increase as well.
You might ask yourself what is the best answer to solving this problem. The answer has been that we are a society that is too busy to cook for ourselves and everything has to be convenient for our busy lives. The trick is that if you are going to eat out, there are some guidelines that you should follow to help keep your health in check.
1. Always have a gameplan. This means that before you go to a restaurant you should do your homework as to what type of food they have. Many restaurants post their menus online and supply the caloric intake for each item. If you know what your options are before you go, you will be less likely to indulge in a spur of the moment lapse in judgement.
2. Take charge and order first. If you are the first to order you will be less tempted to succumb to other people’s choices in your party. Once you make your decision, stick with it. Don’t let anyone try to talk you into something that is unhealthy. The decison-making process is simple make your choice before you go and stick to your guns. Many people will try to talk you into things that they want to consume because if it’s unhealthy they would rather have everyone make poor food choices than go down by themselves.
3. Customize the food to suite your needs. Many restaurants will have items that substantially increase the caloric intake because it can make the food taste better. For instance, if the option is a bacon double cheeseburger loaded with onions, mushrooms, and some type of sauce, the best way to customize it would be to have just a plain cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, and cheese on a whole wheat bun or without a bun altogether.
4. Eat prior to going out to the restaurant. Many people add a ton of calories by consuming the bread on the table, an appetizer, and then ordering dessert because they are still hungry. If you eat approximately every two and a half to three hours, it will help keep your hunger and your metabolism in check. Eating small snacks in between your main meals will keep your metabolism and energy levels high. One of the worst things you can do is not eat all day because you are going out to eat that night. Subsequently, you will end up over-eating and the added calories will be stored as fat.
5. Use appetizers as your meal. There are numerous times that you will go to a restaurant and see several items that you would like to try. Instead of ordering one big meal, try using several appetizers to meet your food requirements. This way you will get to taste several different items from the menu and you avoid over-eating by consuming an appetizer, meal, dessert, and beverage.
6. Be careful of the evil salad option. Consumers will typically order a salad because they automatically think that is the healthiest item on the menu, however it can be misleading. For instance, a mexican salad that contains crutons, beans, chips, cheese, and rice. The amount of carbs in that type of salad is astronomical and can be worse than consuming a BLT club sandwich.
In conclusion, the holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family in moderation. It is very simple to put on 10 to 15 pounds during this festive season. Make sure to limit your alcohol intake for a variety of reasons including safety of your friends and family, but also to prevent that bulging waistline. If you find yourself struggling with your weight throughout this holiday season, there are people who can help you find your focus, namely Xcellerated Speed Training.