Restaurant meals during the holidays are great opportunities to connect with family and friends. But they can also be high in calories and sodium. It’s helpful to have a plan for healthy eating before you walk through the restaurant door. 

If your company’s hosting an end-of-the-year event at a restaurant, or if you’re going for drinks and dinner at a favourite pub, you’ll want to take note.

Healthy Holiday Meal

Healthy holiday eating at a restaurant means enjoying your food and your company, without compromising your health.

One of the biggest challenges of dining out is managing the portion size. The serving sizes at restaurants can be 2-3 times larger compared to what you might serve yourself at home. Restaurants also tend to use larger plates to serve the food. This gives the illusion that the portion sizes are “normal” because it takes up less space on a large plate. 

While eating mindfully is a powerful way to overcome the “plate illusion”, it can be challenging to pay attention to the food when you’re having a good time at a restaurant. Conversation, drinks, and the restaurant environment all distract us from the moment to moment awareness that’s the foundation of mindful eating

So what’s a strategy that actually works when it comes to eating a sensible portion size at restaurants? 

Healthy Holiday Tip for Friday Dec 2: Put a portion of your main entree in a takeout container at the beginning of the meal.

This is a tip I often use when eating out at restaurants– especially if it’s a place that’s famous for large serving sizes. Amidst all the socializing, background music, and other distractions (like the cute bartender), it can be challenging to pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.  So ask for a to-go box with your order, and portion out 25-50% of the entree for later. This way, not only are you preventing yourself from overeating at the restaurant, you’ll also have a tasty snack for the next day. If you’re truly still hungry at the end of your meal, at least there’s room for dessert 😉 

Healthy Holiday Tip for Friday Dec 2: Put a portion of your main entree in a takeout container at the beginning of the meal.

This weekend, if you’re going out for dinner (or lunch) with friends and family, why not try it out yourself? I’d love to hear if this worked for you! Comment on my Facebook Page or send me a message!

Healthy Holiday Eating #2: A Restaurant Meal