The majority of the people I coach struggle with this one, as they’re required to attend business lunches and dinners on a frequent basis and feel slightly out of control at these occasions. However, overtime we build in specific habits which make it a more manageable and enjoyable experience for them, whilst also staying on track with their goals.

This quick and simple guide doesn’t involve the habits, but has 5 very applicable practices you can try out next time you’re eating out – so give it a go!


1. Choose your restaurant in advance

Make your life easy right from the kick off by suggesting restaurants that you know provide healthy meals (possibly using fresh, local, and/or organic foods).


2. Look for the ‘Magic 3’

Either beforehand or sitting in the restaurant ambiance, scan over the menu looking for 3 things:

  1. Lean protein source
  2. Vegetables and fruits
  3. High-fibre, slow digesting carbs (beans / whole grains)


Skip over anything with ‘fried’, ‘crisped’, ‘glazed’ or ‘secret blend’ – these typically involve a high concentration of oils, sugars and more.

If there’s a meal on the menu you’d like but it doesn’t come with vegetables, ask to see if you could swap or add a portion of vegetables or salad with it. Most often this is never a problem, however if they charge extra for it, just think of it as your ‘flat stomach tax’ ;).


3. Know What You’re Ordering

Not sure what “Baste” or “Confit”mean..? Don’t worry neither did I!

Ask your waiter about certain terminology if you’re unclear, so you can be sure on what you’re ordering and how the food is cooked and prepared.

Likewise with the vegetables or salads, ask how they’re prepared. If they’re based in oils or fried, ask if you can have them steamed or with the dressings on the side so you can control your portions.

Even though it may sound fickle, little questions like these can save you from eating hundreds of unnecessary calories, added sugars, sodium etc. in a single meal…which can equate to a significant amount over the year if you frequently eat out for work purposes.


4. When all else fails, stick to the salad

Salads are often a safe bet. Offering lots of great micronutrients for the salads leaves and vegetables - plus you can usually pack on a side order of chicken, prawns, salmon, or any other protein to go with it. Awesome!

BUT, be conscious of the fact that many restaurants will douse their salads with high-calorie dressings (most often more calorific that the contents of the salad itself), as well as other toppings like: croutons, creamy cheeses, sugar-coated nuts, tortilla chips etc.

In either case, ask for the dressing on the side so you can control your portion (by having it on the side you will typically be provided a smaller serving that if the dressing was mixed in at the back), and ask to maybe have the salads without [enter high-fat / high sugar toppings]. Now you’re ordering like a pro!




5. Stick to your guns

Our toughest challenge (for most of us) is our social & physical environments – more in this in the future.

Our friends, family members and co-workers might try to knock us off the track from time to time with comments like:

  •  “Why aren’t you having…. You’re so picky!”
  • “Have some of this, I don’t want it to go to waste / you’re missing out”

- etc.

Whatever it is, don’t let it get to you and combat it with kindness such as, “I’m good thanks, happy with my meal. But thanks for the offer”.

If they keep asking and harassing you about it…be direct and ask them WHY is it so important to THEM that you eat these foods? – Always leads to an interesting answer.

Whichever technique you choose, remember that the only person’s actions you are in control of, is your own. You cannot shape what a friend will say or do to your preference, you can only control what YOU THINK, DO, OR SAY.


YOU are in charge of what's important to YOU.


Try these 5 tips out and see which ones comes naturally and which ones you have resistance to….and why?


Hope this simple guide helps!




Stay Healthy and Happy,

Hugo Mayhew