Let’s be honest about the real cost of eating out!
It is so inexpensive to not cook at home in Mexico but what’s the real cost of eating out? I cook at home every day because it helps me meet my personal fitness and nutrition goals.
The “holiday season” in the U.S. begins with Halloween candy and ends with champagne and regrets on New Years Day. For many it’s a downward spiral of poor eating and drinking choices that results in an average weight gain of seven pounds during the holidays.
7 Pounds! Let that sink in!
I’m sure very few of us plan to gain weight, but without planning you may well become a statistic. There are only a few actual holiDAYs during this festive season so every day isn’t a reason to celebrate by overeating.
Change your attitude and keep your wellness goals in mind.
Every day is a reason to celebrate your health
and to stick to your fitness goals.
What’s the Real Cost of Eating Out in Mexico?
Many of my friends eat out every day in Baja and I have heard them say, “It’s so inexpensive that it’s not worth cooking at home.” I couldn’t disagree more. The real costs are felt in your body not in your pocketbook. Mexican food, just like American food, can be high in carbohydrates, saturated fats, sodium and calories. Of course you can and should make healthy choices when you eat out but most people don’t. There are too many deliciously bad options and trigger foods and alcoholic drinks on the menu.
Mi Loreto, one of our local restaurant with lots of choices and great staff. Don’t you love the great outdoor kitchen and decor?
Here are a few tips for healthy eating if you choose to go out.
1) Have your health goals firmly in mind before you step into a restaurant.
What is your nutritional goal?
A vegetarian is never looking at the meat dishes and no one second guesses her requests. Make the menu work for you.
A vegan’s choices are limited and she has probably done her homework before she picked a restaurant. You can learn from friends with strong dietary convictions. You have every right to have your own dietary convictions.
Paleos never look at the pasta, breads, dessert menu, or alcohol. (Although, I think even a cave woman would have liked a glass of wine and dark chocolate occasionally. Just saying)
Personally, I eat a low carbohydrate diet, with an abundance of vegetables, fruits and fish. I choose not to eat simple carbohydrates or deep fried foods so I never eat pasta, bread, sandwiches, pizza or fried foods. I choose fish and chicken over red meat. I order simple meals without hidden ingredients. Think salads, fish with mango salsa, grilled shrimp, flank steak tacos, vs. cheesy enchiladas and beef tamales, which are delicious, but full of lard and carbohydrates.
2) Limit the menu IN ADVANCE to a few choices, based on your personal wellness goal or dietary limitations.
This is a low stress way to avoid land mines. If you wait until you see the menu, before you set your goals, then you will probably succumb to the temptation of eating foods that don’t further your wellness goals, especially if you’re very hungry.
3) Share an entrée or have 1/2 boxed up before you sit down to eat it.
Bring a glass storage container from home for this purpose and say no to styrofoam and cardboard waste. An easy way to reduce and reuse.
How many times have you eaten everything on your plate knowing full well that you would have eaten 1/4 or 1/2 of that amount at home? Don’t end your special night out feeling stuffed and disgusted with yourself.
4) Have a “go to meal” before you look at the menu.
My “go to” is a simply prepared grilled chicken or fish, with salad and dressing on the side or vegetable based soups and side dishes. I avoid cheese and cream sauces. It is difficult to find many vegetables on the menu in the U.S. and Mexico. Ask for a double serving of vegetables and skip the uninspired rice and beans to save calories.
5) Don’t drink your calories.
Ask for a bottle of water (I know, I hate using plastic) and drink a full glass before your meal comes. Limit alcohol to non-sweetened drinks and set your limit before you go out. “One and Done” Substitute sparkling water for high calorie, high sugar drinks. Skip the hangover.
6) Be mindful and savor every bite.
Put down your fork and talk with your companions, put away your phone, people watch, enjoy the music or artwork. Dining out should be an experience to treasure not an excuse to overeat.
7) Plan your weekly home meals in advance to avoid the pull to eat out.
Have easy fast meals in the mix and prepare vegetables in advance so you can grab them from the refrigerator and make a meal around them. Keep cooked pintos or chic peas in the refrigerator or freezer for fast protein to add to salads and vegetables. Make a crockpot full of shredded chicken or lean beef and eat it for more than one meal.
These are a few fast meals that you might like.
Crispy Asian Lemon Cauliflower
Shrimp and peppers
Sheet pan fajitas
Carne Asada, use the paper thin flank steak available at Ley’s
Here’s a real meal plan for a week based on what’s in my refrigerator.
What’s the real cost of eating out every day? You decide but the costs to your health are real.
So plan ahead and make good choices.
Follow me via email to see my healthy holiday series.
Check out my Pinterest boards Baja Seafood and Baja Fish.