Dining Out on the 21 Day Fix (Portion Fix) Eating Plan
Yes, the Portion Fix/21 Day Fix eating plan is structured. No, you do not have to suffer while you’re doing the program. Autumn fully intends for the eating plan to be a lifestyle change, not a diet. Real life means we occasionally go out to restaurants. In this post, I’ll share some of my key tips for dining out on Portion Fix/21 Day Fix to help you maximize your results on the program.
These days, the amount of money Americans spend on dining out rivals that of what they spend on groceries. This is partly because of busy lifestyles and partly because the younger generation views it as a social event. Whatever the reason, all this dining out is DEFINITELY part of the obesity problem in our country.
Reasons Not to Dine Out
Having the discipline to be self directed on your 21 Day Fix journey is crucial to your success. While you most definitely can eat out when you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight, it’s best to minimize dining out on Portion Fix/21 Day Fix.
If you are leading a busy lifestyle and you are dining out frequently, you should really make an effort to eat at home more often. Eating at home requires more time and effort, but it can be beneficial to you in so many ways. Here are just a few health-related reasons:
1. Saves you money. A lot of people will resist eating more healthy because they say that better quality and organic food is just too expensive. I beg to differ when it comes to the big picture, but one way to save money to pay for quality fuel for your body is to eat out less. In fact, this will most likely more than cover any increase in your grocery bill because the cost of a homemade meal is up to four LESS than what you pay at a restaurant!
2. Healthier food. Most restaurant dishes are high in calories and fat and many restaurants use flavor enhancers. YOU have total control of the ingredients in your homemade meals. Not only will your healthier home-cooked food help you stick with your eating plan, but you’ll have more energy from giving your body whole foods and removing most of the unhealthy ones from your diet.
3. Easier to stick to your diet plan. Out of sight, out of mind! It’s difficult to resist the temptation of all the tantalizing menu items that are for the asking—particularly dessert. Or, maybe you feel awkward making special requests or being the only one in your party following a structured eating plan, so you give in (I have something to say about that below!). At home, YOU have the ability to control what you put it every meal so you can achieve the calorie deficit you need to lose weight.
How Often Should You Dine Out?
If you’re trying to get healthy and lose some weight, my suggestion is not to try not to go out to eat more than twice a week. Why? Because people who eat out more than twice a week are more likely to gain several pounds a year than people who don’t. If you’re wondering why you’re not losing the weight you had hoped on the Fix, I suggest you look closing at your dining out habits!
Tips for Dining Out on the 21 Day Fix (Portion Fix)
If you are dining out on the 21 Day Fix / Portion Fix eating plans, you CAN do it right and stick to your daily allotments. Here are my tips that apply to the Fix or ANY eating plan:
Tip #1: Plan for It—Before you even have breakfast, think about whether you’ll be going out to eat for any of your day’s meals. If you are, strategize your meals to give yourself some room on the meal you’ll be eating out.
Tip #2: Drink a Shakeology Before You Go—Shakeology fills you up, curbs your cravings, and keeps you satiated for a long time. It also uses only one red container making it one of your most powerful weapons against overeating when you’re dining out!
Tip #3: Choose the Healthiest Possible Restaurant—Fortunately, there has been a positive shift (mostly in urban areas) in the last several years towards healthier restaurants. Not enough to let your guard down, but enough to enable you to find a reasonable selection of healthy eateries in your area. Do some research and start going to the restaurants that help you stick to your Fix eating eating plan.
Tip #4: Make a Reservation—Smelling all the food and watching people eat while you’re waiting for your table will likely kill some of your resolve, so it’s best to have a reservation and get there in time to make it happen.
Tip #5: Skip the Alcohol—Not only will this eliminate calories, but it will avoid the loss of inhibitions and gain of rationalizations that alcohol brings with it. I will often drink sparkling water with lemon or lime in a fancy wine glass to trip my brain.
Tip #6: Check Out the Menu Online Before You Go—Most restaurants have their menu posted on their website (or on Yelp or Facebook) these days. This is an excellent way to be prepared for your visit. Find a few dishes that work best with your 21 Day Fix container allotment with the least amount of special requests.
Tip #7: Consider a Healthy Appetizer for Your Main Dish—Ordering an appetizer as your main dish will shrink those portion sizes down so you don’t eat up too many containers.
Tip #8: Skip the Pre-Dinner Snacks (Appetizers, Bread, Chips & Salsa, etc.)—Typically the pre-dinner snacks are loaded with fat and calories. Unless the appetizer is your main dish, SKIP IT!
Tip #9: Don’t Be Afraid to Make Special Requests—It’s really not difficult to tweak a reasonable number of menu items to make them Fix compliant. All it takes is a few strategic special requests. If you handle it right, most restaurants will happily honor them. First, ask questions about how the dish is prepared and what ingredients it includes. Being clear about what you can eat and knowledgable about their menu (because you checked it out before you even got there!) enables you to make a minimal number of requests quickly.
Here are some suggested requests for healthier dining out on the 21 Day Fix:
- Request the minimal use of butter or oil—This could save you a bunch of calories!
- Ask if your dish can be broiled or baked rather than fried—This simple change will significantly lower the calories and increase the health of a given dish.
- Order salad dressing/sauces on the side—Sauces and dressings can easily add several hundred calories to your restaurant meal. Choose low calorie dressings like vinaigrettes or, better yet, lemon with a bit of olive oil or plain vinegar (a Fix freebie). By getting the dressing/sauces on the side, you can either skip them entirely or use only the amount you are allowed in the orange container. Don’t be afraid to request a swap for a healthier dressing or sauce that is being used on a different dish!
- Order your sandwich, wrap, or burger protein style—Most places are able and happy to wrap your sandwich, wrap or burger in lettuce instead of inside a bun or tortilla.
- Ask for your main protein to be cooked simply—If it’s complicated, ask for simple. You can always request that they simply sauté your chicken breast, steak, fish, etc., with very little oil and all the free herbs and spices the chef desires.
- Replace high calorie side dishes (fries, potatoes, etc.) with a low cal option (steamed veggies, side salad, brown rice, fresh fruit, etc.)
Tip #10: Be Salad Savvy—Not all salads are created equally when it comes to fat and calories. Not only can the dressings be high fat and calories, but so can the toppings.
Tip #11: Drink Lots of Water During Your Meal—Water will temporarily fill the space available for food during your meal!
Tip #12: Skip the Condiments—Forgo the ketchup, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, etc., but eat all the mustard and vinegar you want!
Tip #13: Take a Doggie Bag Home with You—If the portions are large, don’t feel pressured to finish it all…bring it home for lunch the next day (for you or someone else).
Tip #14: Skip Dessert—Duh, right? If you simply can’t resist the decadence, ask your dining partner if you can have a couple bites of theirs.
Tip #15: Track Your Meal in Your 21 Day Fix App—Don’t forget to track the containers you ate in your restaurant meal in the 21 Day Fix app. If you’re not using it, you need to go download it now (Apple or Android)!
Being successful on your Portion Fix / 21 Day Fix journey (or ANY journey) is taking personal responsibility while you’re working on it. Learning about dining out on the 21 Day Fix / Portion Fix is an important step take in owning your actions.
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