So you have made the decision to lead a healthier lifestyle. You’ve cleaned up your act, started exercising, reduced sugar and processed food intake, and increased your vegetable intake. You are starting to feel like a million bucks but what you really want is to eat out rather than cook another meal from scratch. Good news, you can do that!

If you’ve started your journey and it included portioning your food with a scale, you are in luck; you are probably way ahead of the game as you can spy 4 ounces of chicken from a meter out. If you haven’t you can purchase an inexpensive scale for about $5 and start portioning your food at home, within a week or two you will be able to estimate portion sizes by sight. There are, of course some handy dandy tips as well; your fist is approximately a cup, your palm 3 ounces of protein and your thumb about an ounce. Controlling the portion of food that you eat is key to eating out without derailing all of your hard work. Some restaurants portion food for the average human, but others provide huge portions; you will need to know what proper portions look like. Of course, at Deli Lane you can simply ask us and we’ll tell you the portion size.

Next up is knowing yourself. If you go out and are craving French Fries or those dang potato skins are calling your name, do not avoid them all together. That is right, you are better off ordering what you are truly craving as a side dish and having one or two than trying to fulfill that urge with something that will not satisfy you. When you try to replace a craving with an alternative healthy choice, most times you end up eating more calories in the end because you are not satisfied. It is important to take the time to truly enjoy the not so healthy items rather than snarf them down, this way you can bring awareness to what it is you like about them and be better able to control yourself when it comes to how many you have.

Most restaurants these days have a healthy menu available to customers; use it. It will often include calorie and nutrient breakdowns to help guide you. If they do not; look for salads without fried things in them or cheese and keep the dressing on the side; lean proteins like fish or chicken with a side of vegetables can be a healthy option, but make sure to ask how they are prepared, grilled is likely best. Ask for sauces on the side and use them sparingly. Most restaurants will have healthier salad dressing options, if they do not use lemon and olive oil to liven up the majority of your salad or steamed veggies.

Pay attention to what you are drinking. The calories in beverages can add up fast, stick with sparkling water, unsweetened ice tea or bottled water.

It is important to remember that the foods we eat nourish us in so many ways. It isn’t all about calories and fat, it is about breaking bread with our loved ones and enjoying life too. You can accomplish both and stay healthy.

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