Eating outside your home and trips

It is much easier to eat planned meals at home, but what about eating outside? Or on a trip? This proves to be a big issue for many. That’s why we’ll go over this topic in this chapter.

Questions we’ll try to answer:

  • What to eat and how to prepare to eat outside your home?
  • How to eat on a trip?
  • How to eat in the restaurant?
  • How to eat at work?

The first principle that you need to learn works universally for almost every challenge with eating: be as prepared as you can in every possible situation. As long as you are PROactive you aren’t just REacting. Whether you’re going on a work trip, vacation, or to eat at a restaurant, the better you know your options and plan ahead, the better result you’ll get. Of course, it takes some effort initially, but it starts to get much more automatic as you make it a habit. For example, a health-aware person never goes to work (or starts a whole work week) without knowing what and where he/she will eat that week. You don’t want to be deciding while standing at the restaurant counter. The same thing applies to whatever type of situation you could find yourself in outside of your home. For example, you should always know what kind of food they serve beforehand when you eat at a restaurant.

Since most of us go to work, we want you to prioritize your workweek meals ahead of time. If you want to save time and energy, you can prepare your meals beforehand and stuff them into lunch boxes to wait in the fridge. Don’t think of it as a tedious chore, but an investment into your health. At the same time, you will avoid unnecessary temptations since you already have a healthy meal with you.

If you have a good workplace cafeteria or other place to eat at a workday, go ahead, but still be prepared and plan ahead. You can either prepare for a week or a day ahead, whatever suits you, as long as you are proactive not reactive.

For the next subject: eating on trips. This is a tricky one for many of us. We hardly know all the details ahead, so it is harder to plan. Everything depends on the nature of a trip. For example – if you are travelling by car, you can take breaks at the gas stations and choose amongst the options there. When travelling by plane or train, the options are more limited, but you’d always find some good alternatives. The main principle is to go with natural food (as opposed to processed). If you have an option to buy a hot dog or salad – or a chocolate bar or an apple – choose the second option. The second principle is to have a quality protein source with every meal, whether you order takeaway, from a gas station, restaurant cart, etc. When getting a salad from a salad bar, take some boiled eggs and tuna with your veggies. There is rarely an excuse to eat an unhealthy meal on trips. Of course, there are times when your options are limited. For example, on an extended trip by car, when there isn’t much civilization around. These are the times when protein bars, nuts and seeds, different kinds of fruits, canned fish and meat, and other quality snacks come in handy. And also, don’t forget a good beverage!

But what to do when you find yourself ordering food in a restaurant or other kind of food joint? Some principles are similar to those mentioned above. And we’re not talking about the times when you want to let loose and just enjoy whatever junk food there might be. There is another chapter for that.

First off – you want a good protein source in your food; this should be the first consideration. Go for fish (you can never go wrong with fish) or poultry. Pork or steak from time to time works if it is not processed. The next thing you should do is to cover your plate with vegetables and salads. And we aren’t considering potatoes or fries to be vegetables in this context. Many restaurants have those as a default option, but you won’t get kicked out of one for ordering vegetables instead of fries. You can add an excellent fat source like seeds or extra virgin olive oil to your salad if there is an option, but you don’t necessarily have to add the fat in this case. The third thing is to add good carbohydrate sources. There rarely are any good sources in those cases, but a good whole-grain bread or brown rice might be one. And the fourth thing is to get a good beverage – if possible, go with cold smooth mineral water that goes with every food, is refreshing, and tastes good.   

Those are some thoughts for you to think about eating outside your home. Remember this one thing and it will guide you – the better you plan ahead, the better the results. Make this a priority and a new habit: thinking ahead. You’ll be amazed by how much your life has changed after some time. And of course, so has your image in the mirror!