How do you define a “healthy” meal?

Some would say, a meal with no refined/processed ingredients, others would say a meal with no carbs, and then there are some who define a healthy meal as one with loads of greens.

What’s your definition?

I used to be obsessively concerned about every little bit of ingredient that goes into my food, as if eating something unrefined in one meal was going to be detrimental to my health. Through all my crazy obsession at different points of my life, I have finally come to a place where I have found my own definition of “healthy eating” that’s balanced and not restrictive. I believe it’s different for everyone because we each have our own likes/dislikes and routines/schedules.

The key is finding the definition that allows you to nourish your body and enjoy food without excessive unsustainable restrictions in your life; socially, mentally, or psychologically.

Here, I’m sharing how I maintain my healthy lifestyle while dining out in ways that are suited to my lifestyle and likings.

Order side salad or a veggie dish

So, to me, a big part of nourishing myself is having my greens. When I cook at home, I will always include them in most of my meals. With dining out, it gets a bit trickier. Most meals you get in a restaurant include only a few strands of greens. Then there’s the option of ordering a salad dish as a main, but that wouldn’t usually be enough for me especially if they include just greens without protein and carbs. So the win-win to me is ordering a salad or a veggie dish on the side, and have it to share with others. 

A cup of hot tea does the work!

I’m never really one with the habit to order a drink with a meal. But I do have days where just water would not suffice and that’s when ordering a cup of hot tea does it for me. If you’re one with the habit of ordering a beverage with your meal, try tea instead! Plus, there’s something about slowly sipping a hot cup of tea that centers you and eases cravings for sweets/snacks. It’s not that it’s “bad” to have dessert after a meal, but I find that sometimes enjoying a cup of tea after a meal will leave you not wanting that dessert anymore. 

Stay mindful while ordering and eating

Being mindful is a big part of eating healthy because it allows us to feed our body what it truly needs or desires for.

How many times do we order something only to find we didn’t quite enjoy it or feel satisfied or feel good after..?

So upon ordering, I find myself asking these questions; “How will i feel after having this meal?”, “Is this what I really want right now?”

If I’m hungry at the point of ordering food, being mindful about the amount of food that I’m about to order help. It’s easy to go crazy because our hungry state makes us believe that we can eat a whole lot! Asking myself questions like “Do I need that amount to fill my stomach?” or “Will i feel my best/satisfied after these amount of food?” helps me make better choices most of the time. 

While eating out, most people are likely to be distracted by the environment or conversations that are ongoing around them. So it’s easy to have a meal and end up overeating or feeling like wanting more even after having a full meal. I eat mindlessly all the time when I’m not paying attention to what I’m feeding myself. By just being mindful about every mouthful of food that’s being consumed, allowing myself to enjoy the different flavours and textures that the food presents, I always find myself enjoying my meal better and feeling completely satisfied after.

These are just a few tips that have helped me with eating well and feeling my best, whilst dining out. Just thought these might help some of you out there who struggle with it. However, do keep in mind that these are ways that are suited for me and my lifestyle. It’s different for everyone. Hope this inspires you to keep finding methods and ways that will help you eat well and enjoy food and life!

Have a great week ahead and let us all remember to always speak words that build and not destroy, share with/give to someone who is in need (be it love, care, kind actions, words of encouragement or material goods). Enjoy your week! 

Lots of love,

Erina

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