Making healthier food choices at gatherings
Just because you’re not eating at home doesn’t mean you can’t make healthier food choices. Acupuncturist & Holistic Women’s Health expert, Josie Bouchier shares her simple tips to help you when eating out, while traveling or at family gatherings.
Learning how to construct healthy snacks and meals at home has its own challenges, however, at least you have some control over your ingredient list.
But what about when you’re out and about in the real world?
In this article, I’m going to share tips to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle when:
- Dining out
- Gathering with friends, family, or co-workers
- While traveling
I’m also going to share some of my favorite non-toxic food storage essentials.
Scroll down to learn more!
Tips For Making Healthier Food Choices While Out
The most important concept to keep in mind when choosing what to eat, wherever you are, is to combine a low-glycemic carbohydrate that’s high in fiber (think whole grains or vegetables) with healthy protein (think eggs, meat, legumes, nuts, or seeds) and healthy fat (think avocado, olive oil, or coconut oil).
As long as you eat all three of these food categories, also called macronutrients, every 2 – 3 hours and stopping at 7pm or 8pm, your belly will send signals to your brain that you are satisfied and your blood sugar will stay balanced.
#TotTip: A satisfied, balanced brain will make healthier food choices.
Here are a few common places that you might find yourself…
A build-your-own burrito joint
When eating at a build-your-own burrito restaurant, forgo the high-glycemic tortilla and instead choose a bowl. Ask for black beans, fajita veggies, pico de gallo, hot or green salsa, lettuce, and half a scoop of guacamole. Try it and you’ll notice how you don’t even miss the other unhealthy ingredients.
At a deli, go for a salad with protein and a broth-based soup. Don’t order a sandwich unless they have 100% whole grain or sprouted grain bread. Wheat flour is just as highly processed and high-glycemic as white flour, which means it spikes your blood sugar and keeps you on the sugar craving roller coaster. Skip red meats, mayo, chips and soda. If they have whole grain bread or wraps available, another great option is veggies, sprouts, avocado, hummus, oil and vinegar.
A nice restaurant
Next time you’re dining at a nice restaurant, choose the fish or chicken entrée with vegetables. Imagine your plate being half veggies, half protein, one-fourth healthy carbohydrate (or more vegetables if they don’t have a whole grain like brown rice), and healthy fats sprinkled throughout like avocado or olive oil. Another option is to choose an entrée salad and then ask for modifications. Ask them to hold the high-glycemic foods, usually bread or croutons, and add nuts or avocado if you need to add your healthy fat and protein. Skip the mayo-based dressings and ask for oil and vinegar/ lemon or a vinaigrette on the side.
A breakfast restaurant
When ordering breakfast at restaurants, choose a veggie omelette or scramble. Skip the breakfast meats, sweets, and white carbohydrates like bread and potatoes. Another good option that some restaurants may offer is steel cut oats. Just make sure it’s not instant oatmeal, which is extremely high-glycemic. If you have a hankering for caffeine, order a drip coffee or Americano and avoid lattes, mochas, and other flavored drinks that are high in sugar.
Happy hour, a party, or gathering
When it comes to alcohol, your best bets are red wine, sake (cold, filtered is best), or fresh citrus mixed with sake or good quality vodka. Avoid other hard liquors, beer, white wine, and sugary drink mixes, all of which will spike your blood sugar. Healthy appetizer choices include vegetable-based appetizers, hummus plate with veggies, mussels, nuts, olives, cheese plate with nuts and olives, lean chicken, turkey or fish-based foods (not fried), lettuce wraps, fresh spring rolls, edamame, sushi or sushi rolls (limit the white rice). Avoid bread-based appetizers and anything fried or covered in cheese.
In addition to all the points mentioned above, the key to making healthy food choices while traveling is to be prepared. When packing, plan out your snacks and meals. Pack a small lunch bag with an ice pack and bring along healthy snacks. You can also pack healthy food in the rest of your luggage such as a powdered smoothie mix, a to-go blender bottle, and healthy, low-glycemic snack bars for emergencies.
Two more important things you can do to stay on track while traveling is to eat breakfast and stay hydrated. Both of these tips will keep your blood sugar balanced, your head clear and your cravings at bay. And, as always, make sure to take your vitamins!
My favorite on-the-go food storage picks
All Tot Safety Tested and approved, the below products are free of BPA + BPS, Harmful Phthalates, Formaldehyde, Lead, and PVC.
The Tot Feeding Sets: On-The-Go (1 year +)
Nutritional Advice / Recipes / Essential Products
Zip Top Silicone Food Storage Bags
Set of 8
PlanetBox Stainless Steel Shuttle Lunchbox
PlanetBox Stainless Steel Water Bottle (18.8 oz)
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