Do you love eating out, but hate what it does to your stomach? Bloating is definitely annoying after an awesome meal and can totally ruin the rest of your day. There’s no need to avoid dining out altogether just because you feel bloated afterwards. Try these healthy eating tips to enjoy your favorite restaurants and dining experiences without getting bloated!
1. Take It Easy on the Water
I know they say water helps you fill up during a meal and overall eat less. This is definitely true to a certain extent. However, drinking too much water during a meal can actually bloat you and make you feel too full! Try to sip water slowly and consistently throughout your meal to avoid bloat.
2. Avoid the Bread Basket
You’ve probably heard to avoid the bread basket that often comes before dinner. While the jury is still out on whether this helps with bloating, I’ve noticed that when I don’t eat bread with my meal, I fill up on much healthier foods and overall have a more enjoyable experience. If you really do like bread with your meal, stick to a small, whole-grain slice.
3. Indulge Wisely (You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It Too)
The key to eating out healthfully is focusing on which foods you really want to eat and which foods you can do without. Take a standard chicken fingers and French fries platter. Are you ordering it for the chicken fingers, the French fries, or both? If you really just want those chicken fingers, could you order them with a side salad instead? Or could you substitute grilled chicken and eat those with the fries? Or could you have a smaller portion altogether if you really want to eat both? The point is to indulge wisely. This can help you from overeating and experiencing bloating.
4. Invest in a Hearty Salad before Your Main Course
A hearty, fiber-rich salad before a main course can help you avoid bloating from more fattening foods. Choose an oil-based dressing over a cream-based dressing to keep bloating down even more.
5. Pick Veggie-Based Sides That Are Minimally Processed
French fries, twice-baked potatoes, and pasta might taste amazing, but these carbs can definitely contribute to bloating. Try incorporating veggies into your meal that are minimally processed. If you can’t get steamed veggies, roasted or sautéed veggies are your next best choice. Sure, they’re not calorie-free and definitely use some oil. But compared to a plate of macaroni that’s the size of your head, this is a much better option if bloating is a concern.
6. Grilled Protein is Much Less Likely to Bloat You than a Fried Entrée
Fried chicken, beer-battered shrimp, and other greasy entrees can make you more likely to feel bloated after eating. Try grilled chicken, fish, or steak, as these options are much leaner and easier to digest. Also ask your server to use less salt when preparing your food to help avoid water-retention after you eat.
7. Choose a Fruit-Based Dessert over Brownies, Cake, or Other High Sugar Foods
Brownies, cookies, and cakes can be very hard on digestion, especially if you eat them with ice cream. These high-calorie combinations can also lead to bloating. A fruit-based dessert, like a fruit salad or a tart, can lead to much less bloating. Also don’t forget that this kind of dessert has a lot more vitamins and antioxidants than your standard slice of cake and ice cream!
Eliminating bloating when eating out ultimately comes down to choosing healthier foods. Greasy, processed foods are often the culprit to bloating. Substituting with healthier options can thus help you enjoy your dining experience without feeling like a total beach ball afterwards!