So, you’ve been trying the Paleo diet for a week or so now, you’re a devoted Paleo diet foody and everything is going well, but you have a social event sneaking up and you are dreading it. How can you eat out and still eat Paleo? What about all those tempting cocktails, the bread basket or the dessert menu? Is it even possible to be on the Paleo diet and still have a social life? I can tell you that it is possible, but you have to be clever about it. When you are at home you have complete control over what food is in the house and what you are eating.
If something is tempting you then you simply don’t have it in the house and the problem is solved. However, as soon as you step out of the comfort and protection of your own home, it can feel like the world is out to get you with an array of tempting non-Paleo foods. But never fear! There is a way around it and you can have complete control in and outside the home with these 4 steps. It is all about controlling the mind, the cravings and the environment around you.
Step 1 – Mind over Matter - Before you take on the restaurants and cafes about town, spend a little time studying. So you’ve embarked on a diet that bans grains, dairy and sugary foods, but do you really know why? Spend some time researching exactly what happens in the body when you devour that burger bun; that huge plate of cheesy lasagne, or that triple chocolate gateau. Find out what happens when your blood sugar spikes. Or your body has an excess of carbs and needs to store them somewhere. What does gluten REALLY do to your body?
With this information in hand, you will find it a LOT easier to avoid the temptation of all those foods. Pretty soon you won’t even crave them.
Step 2 – Be prepared – Gone are the days of skipping lunch so you can indulge at dinner. In order to maintain control while out and about you need to be armed with an array of tricks and tools. If you’re going out with friends, eat a little something before you leave. It could be a quick bowl of Paleo soup or a handful of nuts. Make sure you’ve had plenty of water that day, to avoid the ‘thirst disguised as hunger’ act. This will not only curb that feeling of desperation in the restaurant, when you are so hungry that everything looks amazing and you have to stop yourself from ordering every dish, but it will also save you money.
Step 3 – Avoid your enemies – We all have those restaurants that are simply irresistible and unless you are lucky enough to adore a Paleo friendly food-type, you need to be sensible about it. All those fast food chains and carb-heavy restaurants are best avoided. Sometimes it is not so much about picking wisely, as it is walking on by. If you know you can’t resist that macaroni cheese, go somewhere else.
Step 4 – Choose with your head, not your eyes (or stomach!) – Making wise choices is key. Always opt for foods that have a high nutritional value and a high satisfaction value. Don’t feel limited by the options on the menu. If you want extra vegetables, ask for them. If you want a naked burrito, ask for it. As long as you are polite about it the server won’t mind. A steak is a great choice in a restaurant, but add a huge salad on the side and you won’t run the risk of finishing and still being hungry. In most cases you’ll need to skip any sauces included.
Eating out at restaurants and cafes is a joy that we all enjoy and while it is true, our ancestors didn’t eat out, it doesn’t mean that you have to fall off the diet wagon. There is a little trick that some people use, when they want to be sure that no wheat and dairy is included in their food; food allergies. Simply have a quiet word with your server, say that you are allergic to gluten and dairy and hey presto, problem solved. It is a little cheeky, but it works! Many restaurants even add this information to their menus, so you can see what to avoid without even mentioning it.
So, don’t bury your head in the sand and say ‘I’m back on the diet tomorrow.’ Keep it going and tackle your challenges head on. Learn WHY you are avoiding these foods. PREPARE your body before you go out by hydrating and eating a little something before you leave. AVOID those restaurants that are just too tempting, with too few Paleo options. And finally, CHOOSE carefully and don’t be afraid to be picky. Your body will thank you.
We hope you find this information useful, eating out is never easy on a diet, but with careful planning backward steps can be avoided. Huge thanks to Samantha Foulke from the Paleo diet food list for sending this in to us. Paleo seems popular this year and this site is well worth checking out.