Question: Do You HAVE to Give Up Eating Out When You’re Trying to Eat Healthy?

Question Do You HAVE to Give Up Eating Out When You're Trying to Eat Healthy Lifesum

4 minReading time

Short answer: Nope.

There’s a big problem with fad diets that people have been aware of for a while. Simply put, it boils down to this one fact: They’re unrealistic.

Think about it for a minute. Let’s take a cabbage soup diet. Sure, it works for a week, but realistically speaking you a) need more than cabbage to sustain your body – protein, fat, hello! b) are going to get bored pretty quick with only eat cabbage soup for every meal for an extended period of time, c) are unlikely, when faced with the choice of cabbage soup home by yourself again vs mushroom risotto with friends, to find cabbage soup to be the more appetizing option.

Here’s what I love about Lifesum. We’re realistic. We cater to real people, with real lives, and real appetites. We don’t believe that living a healthy lifestyle should mean you eat tasteless food because it’s ‘good for you’, and we very much believe that living a healthy lifestyle should be at its core, realistic and sustainable.

Realistic and sustainable.

So what does that look like?

It means having guidelines and tips instead of rules. It means encouraging you guys to make healthy choices overall. It means helping you to cultivate a healthy way of thinking about food – not only seeing food as a bunch of nutrients, but seeing it as a way of nourishing your body.

We don’t have absolutes, because ultimately in life, things aren’t always black and white, there tend to be a lot of gray areas. It’s the same thing with health.

Health is about balance. That means eliminating absolute ways of thinking. Health isn’t all or nothing. It’s finding a way of living that is good for you, in every respect.

If you’ve got a full-time job and young kids – it’s not realistic to make separate meals for you and the kids, because time is short. It’s more realistic to make foods that you know your kids will eat without much fuss, and maybe boil an extra load of broccoli or steam some kale on the side for yourself.

In the same way, if you’re a pretty social person, a healthy lifestyle that requires you to sacrifice eating with other people isn’t really sustainable. In the long-term you’ll be healthy but lonely. It’s far more realistic to limit eating out to once a week, swap dinner dates for coffee dates, or invite people over more often so that you can choose what you eat!

I know what you guys are thinking. “Won’t eating out ruin my diet?” or even “Won’t dieting ruin eating out?”

I’ve read those blog posts before, heck, I’ve even written them. You know the ones, where they say things like ‘stick to the salad on the menu, and then skip the dressing’, or ‘just order an appetizer’. I’m sorry, but if you like food, you know this sucks. Aint nobody who finds the idea of plain, dry leaves on their plate for dinner an appetizing one. I wouldn’t pay to eat that. You can buy a bag of leaves from Walmart for goodness sake. Similarly, I don’t want the appetizer. If I’m going out to eat you know I’m getting a full plate of whatever the heck it is.

Isn’t eating out is supposed to be something special?

Here’s my advice:

Eat out a little less
Invite people over or go over to their place. Home-cooked food (from scratch) is generally healthier than what you’ll get outside, and you get to pick your portion-size.

Pick your eatery with care
If you absolutely must have a double cheeseburger from McDonalds, go for it (just, and I’m obliged to say this, not too often!), but if you can go to an eatery where you know the food is crafted well, pick that place instead of Ronald McDonald’s joint. What do I mean by crafted? I mean a place where you know they use mostly whole food ingredients and sustainably sourced foods – not frozen buns, frozen meat, or frozen fries. Pick a place where they cook from scratch. Whole food is quality food.

Learn how to read a menu
Let’s say there’s an item on the menu with the following description: spiced lamb and hummus, pine nuts, pomegranate and mint. Have you got some protein, fat and carb? Yes. Great. Is it carb heavy? Nope. Even better. Are there enough greens present? Maybe not. The point is, learn to check how balanced a meal is. This doesn’t have to dictate your meal of choice, but it can inform it.


Eat with joy
Don’t pick an item on the menu that is going to make you a) feel guilty, or b) feel depressed. If you’re going to feel either of those, the meal isn’t worth eating. If you’re going out to eat it should feel good, no feelings of ‘I have to make up for this tomorrow’ or ‘I wish this salad was a burger’. Enjoy your food. You owe it to yourself.

/Femi, The Girl Who Hates Working Out

RELATED: Why Ice-Cream Should Be A Part of Your Diet

With Lifesum, tracking your healthy habits (and the not so healthy ones) becomes a breeze. We’ll help you pick the right food, and eat the right portion sizes, to reach your personal health goals.

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