We all love to eat out (me more than most) and there are always opportunities popping up, date night, birthdays and family gatherings. You will probably order the rich pasta dish over the grilled fish and steamed veg. However there is research to show that over 90% of restaurant dishes contain more calories than the average recommendations.
If you are now making changes, eating better and exercising more then navigating your way around restaurant menus and making healthier choices will really help. Check out these 6 tips for eating healthier at restaurants.
1. Start with restaurant selection
If you are in control of where you are going to eat then that's where you start. Western cuisine, Chinese and Italian usually have the least healthy options. Try cuisines that base the food around lean protein, veggies and whole grains. Middle-eastern, Mediterranean, Japanese and Greek will usually have more healthier options.
Also try and find restaurants that change their produce seasonally. This usually means that not only are the ingredients fresh and local, you will have a greater selection of vegetables (oh and it will taste better too!)
2. Take some home
Portions sizes have got bigger and bigger at home and in restaurants. So instead of not ordering your favourite dish from a menu, think about taking some home. Not only will you save a few calories but you can enjoy your favourite dish at home, win-win. There are some dishes that will keep better and are ok to reheat, like steak, risotto and pasta.
3. Put the phone down
If you are constantly looking at your phone, checking Facebook or Instagram then research suggest this can lead to overeating. If your distracted when eating your not in-tune with hunger and fullness cues. Eat slowly and be mindful of each mouthful.
4. Don't go out hungry
If you have eaten well during the day then you won't be starving by the time you go out. Make sure you have a good breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch and mid-afternoon snack (healthy of course). If your ravenous when you sit down to order it will lead to poor choices and you'll probably over-eat.
5. Keep your numbers smaller
If you are trying to eat healthier try and dine out in smaller groups. Research has shown that when we eat out in large groups you will eat more. A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that an increase of between 47-96% in meal size when there are 2-7+ more people.
6. Do your research
Now days pretty much every restaurant have their menus available online so use that to your advantage. If your a nerd like me you will get excited when browsing the menu of somewhere your going, then you can plan. By doing this you cut down the chance of being swayed by your mates to order what there having. You know you may even inspire your dinner friends to order something a little more healthy too.
Be Happy, Be Healthy...
Science can tell us a lot about everything including nutrition, health and fitness! Sometimes we believe all the clever media and marketing that is pumped out consistently by people or companies selling their shakes, pills, juicers and so on. Whatever advice or coaching I give to my clients will have been based around facts or research studies, stuff that actually works! Here are 10 healthy eating habits backed up by science...
Most of us have forgotten what true hunger feels like physically and what it feels like to be satisfied. It seems that as soon as we feel we might be just a tiny bit hungry, we eat until our bellies are full and we do it quick! It's ok to feel a little hungry and you should work on really getting to know your hunger cues, how you feel when your satisfied and when to stop.
The two most important habits I get my clients to work on are 'Eat Slowly' and 'Stop When 80% Full'.
These two habits, when done consistently are very powerful when it comes to improving your body and health...
So, here I'm going to share with you a snippet of a lesson from my online coaching program, powered by 'ProCoach' and my partners at Precision Nutrition.
'The Hunger Game'
Start by asking yourself these questions...
So make a game of it as you practice. (check out the graphic at the bottom of the post!)
Touch and go
Imagine this. You've just been shipwrecked on a desert island.
Would you be the guy who starts to freak out once his stomach starts rumbling?
Or would you be the guy who shrugs, gets to work making some pointy sticks, and hangs in there until he can spear a tasty island rat for chow? He knows that hunger isn't an emergency. Because he's been practicing his 80% full.
Yeah, being hungry kinda sucks. But you'll survive.
Your muscles won't dissolve if you don't get dinner by 6 p.m.
And being a little hungry puts you in fat-burning mode.
Hunger comes and goes in waves.
Most of the time it's just a little uncomfortable. Nothing you can't handle.
Try "touch and go" with being hungry, or anything else you notice today.
Pause. Observe it for a few minutes.
Then move on.
"Man, I could totally go for a cheeseburger right now! This is a serious craving! Huh. That's interesting. Am I really hungry? [waiting] Kind of. OK, I'll wait a little while longer and see how it goes."
Think about stopping at 80% full — and observing your hunger and fullness — as merely pausing.
It's not forever. Touch and go.
Today, try playing the hunger game.
When you notice yourself wanting food, pause for a moment.
Wait. Check in.
Notice what your body is saying.
Enjoy the freedom of 80% full
Eventually, once you get the hang of it, 80% full will start to feel awesome. You'll finish every meal feeling leaner and lighter, instead of bogged down, burpy, and bloated.
And you'll love the freedom this gives you.
Because now YOUR body is the boss. YOU are in control.
You won't need a food scale, measuring cups, calculator, calorie counter, or any strict "food rules".
You'll have your body and your own awareness.
Tomorrow, we'll tell you what to look for. But we want YOU to start with learning YOUR own unique body signals.
Give it a try.
80% full trumps everything else
Eating slowly, to 80% full, is more important than any other habit in this program.
When in doubt, use this mantra: Feeling, not formula.
Be Happy, Be Healthy....Nick
I’ve seen a big shift in the last couple of years towards online personal training and nutrition coaching. There are thousands of trainers offering online coaching (including myself) and if you’re reading this you may well be thinking ‘can online coaching help ME?’.
Online coaching can absolutely help you achieve goals and make real changes to your health, body and fitness. For myself as a coach it's a way of being able to reach (and therefore help) so many more people than I ever could face-to-face. Just like training with a trainer or nutrition coach in person, you will have to be ‘ready, willing and able’ to change and without that it doesn’t really matter which option you choose you may still struggle with results.
Having to juggle work, family or both is something we all have to deal with so online coaching can provide a more flexible way for you to work towards your goals. You can work with your coach and see how best to fit your training or nutrition coaching into your busy schedule and lifestyle. Generally online coaching is less expensive than having a coach in person so if budget is a factor then this is a bonus.
How does online coaching work?
Most online coaches will either provide a ‘low-end’ or ‘high-end’ service. There are loads of platforms being used by coaches ranging from simple emails and ‘pdf’s’ for workouts and meal plans to the more sophisticated where you will get an online log-in to engage with your coach, get feedback, workout plans and link to other people and an online community. Generally, the lower cost low-end options will have some accountability but training and nutrition coaching can be quite generic. The higher-end options will usually have more direct contact with a coach, more accountability and be more specific to your unique needs and situation. What’s important here is that you find the most suitable option for YOU, your preferences and your lifestyle, and you are the best judge of that. That said, in my experience the more contact you have with a great coach, the better your results and the chance of creating real and long-lasting change (at least that’s been true with most of my clients).
How do I choose an online coach?
I can understand how tricky and confusing it can be as every time you go online or social media you’re bombarded with coaches selling their services. The best piece of advice I can give you on this is if a coach is offering you something that sounds too good to be true then it usually is. I would be a little weary of things like ‘6 week abs’ or ’30-day extreme fat loss’ etc. In my experience it takes at least 12 weeks or more (depending on the client) to make a real sustainable change to your body, health and nutritional habits. The health and fitness industry is guilty of providing false hope and pumping out marketing that feeds the myth of instant results. My own online coaching program has a curriculum of one full year! Also, remember that just because you may never see your coach in person, you still want to feel that you’re a good fit and that you can build some sort of rapport. Choose a coach who is willing to speak to you, offer free advice and is approachable. You could be working together for some time!
3 things to consider before you begin your online coaching.
Just by reading this post you have decided to take action, good on you! Whoever or however you choose online coaching, good luck and go for it!
Be Healthy, Be Happy,
If you would like to find out more about how I coach online, then click here…
So for a while now you have been exercising, improving your diet and reducing your body fat. You’ve had your eye on your summer holiday and your determined to get the body you desire before you hit the beach. However, for a number of weeks or even months the numbers just aren’t playing ball, the scales or the tape don’t budge, you are in the middle of a plateau. I know this is frustrating but you’re not alone, in fact I see this with all my clients and is a normal and inevitable part of weight loss. The chances are that your body has adapted to the changes you have made so the initial weight loss will stutter. Here are 5 tips to help you smash through your plateau on get you back on track…
Make these changes, do them consistently and you will see your results begin to go your way once again…
I love to use the battle ropes either as a stand alone session or as part of HIIT circuit. You can add another dimension with a Bosu to challenge your core and stability. You will find ropes and a Bosu on most gym floors now so use them to mix up your workouts. Why not do this routine as a 'finisher' at the end of your session to create even more of a calorie burn.
30s each exercise, 30s rest
Rest 2-3 mins, repeat x 3
45s each exercise, 30s rest
Rest 2-3 mins, repeat x 3
1 min each exercise, 1min
Rest 2-3 mins, repeat x3
Heres a challenging dumb bell complex to try. Complete 8 reps of each exercise with no rest. Rest 1-2 minutes then go again. Your goal is to complete 8 rounds! Let me know how you get on...
Calories, calories, calories....we hear about them all the time, were told how many to have, not to have, this has this many, this has that many and so on. First of all what is a calorie? Simply, a calorie is a measurement of energy and is shown as 'kJ' or 'kcal' (4.2 kJ = 1 kcal = 1 food calorie) and as a fitness and nutrition coach I always refer to calories as 'food calories' (kcal). The 3 'macro nutrients' (carbs, fats, protein) provide different energy values (or calories). Both protein and carbohydrate provide 4 calories per gram, fat provides 9 per gram and alcohol 7 per gram.
For years we've been told that if we eat fewer calories then we will lose weight, right? Well despite this how come people are getting fatter? The biggest factor with calorie counting is that there is little to no consideration of the quality or source of those calories. You could have consumed calories from 100g of broccoli, a cereal bar, bacon fat etc. For some people this simplistic view of calories distorts what they think they can eat. So for example some will eat (or rather overeat!) 'low-calorie biscuits, low-fat ice cream, diet soft drinks whilst avoiding high calorie foods like nuts, seeds and avocados. Yes, by doing this you may well end up with a calorie deficit but just think of the crappy quality of those foods!
So you probably have a daily amount of calories set for your nutrition plan or diet. Well it's pretty darn hard to count calories accurately. In fact in one study in Boston (1) showed that frozen foods and restaurant foods that were marketed as 'low-calorie', actually contained more calories than listed. On average frozen foods had 8% more calories and restaurant food 18%. Some newer studies have shown calories to be as much as 25% inaccurate. So that 300 calorie meal could be 375!
I am not saying that counting calories isn't important as it's good to have an idea of total calorie intake, just be aware that it can be inaccurate so use it as a guideline. Always eat unprocessed whole foods where possible as they contain many more nutrients than processed sugary options.
The take home messages here are:
Be happy, be healthy...
Author, Nick Lower
Welcome to my blog!