As we approach the end of any Whole30, reintroduction is a crucial part of the learning process. Through reintroducing foods you’ve eliminated for the past 30 days, you’ll be able to gauge what foods make you feel your best and what foods may not agree with you. It’s all a part of deciding what you want to include as you move towards your own Food Freedom. Still not so sure why or how you should do reintroduction? Check out this helpful post, The Scoop on Whole30 Reintroduction, where we break it down for you.
If you haven’t been eating out or venturing far from your kitchen for the last 30 days, the potential for temptation at a restaurant or friends house can be intimidating. By now you’ve probably gotten into a comfortable routine with meal prep, label reading, and knowing where you can grab that compliant salad or fast-mex bowl, but not to fear! We’re here to share these 10 Tips on Dining Out for Food Freedom to help reduce any dining out anxieties and help you feel confident.
1. Plan Ahead
This can mean researching a menu, packing your own salad dressing or purse avocado, or calling the restaurant to see what you might be able to enjoy before sitting down and going into full panic mode. Depending on what day you may be on, reintroduction or after, asking about paleo options, what type of cooking oil an establishment uses, or if they have an allergy-friendly menu can be the extra due diligence that can make all the difference. If you know that on a certain day of reintroduction you are going to a specific restaurant, enjoy those corn chips as an appetizer but make sure the rest of what you eat also has those already reintroduced food items in their ingredient list. If you’re traveling, make sure you pack some compliant snacks to help you in a bind, like whole food bars, meat sticks, or fruit and veggies with some protein and healthy fat to make a mini meal. Find easy and portable ways to keep those hunger pains at bay while on the go.
2. Get Cooking
By now you should be a Pro in the kitchen, so why not knock your friends and family’s respective socks off and WOW them with that new recipe you fell in love with or try your hand at that big batch of Instant Pot Sweet Potato and Grass-Fed Beef Chili you’ve wanted to make? If it’s a potluck, offer to bring an appetizer or dessert option. Even if it’s not a hit, you’ve already taken care of part of your meal prep when you box up the leftovers to take home. Just call yourself a major multitasker.
3. Be The Organizer or Host
You ALWAYS seem to be going to his/her/their house for events, so why not try your hand at being the host/ess with the most/est? Recruit the kids to help tidy the house or plan some extra halftime entertainment (who doesn’t love a good kid-produced play?), get your significant other to fire up the grill or stove, and make your party prep a family affair! It’s so much easier to ensure that you and your guests will have a variety of yummy (and compliant) food and beverage options when the buffet and drink cooler coordinates are right in your own home. So send that E-vite, share the link to a good ol’ Google Spreadsheet for potluck sign ups, and get the decorations ordered because any excuse is a good one when it means gathering with good friends to enjoy good food and create meaningful memories without stressing about reading the label of that onion dip or gnawing on raw veggies the entire night. Go ahead, host your event! When the night is over you’ll be glad you did plus, guests are always willing to help with the dishes.
4. Make Sure You’re Full And Check In with Yourself
If you’re worried about the who, what, where details, or know you may be an emotional or anxious eater, making sure you’ve had a satiating meal or snack before heading out can help minimize the chance you’ll go to the food unnecessarily. A helpful rule of thumb can be the fish and broccoli question. What’s that? Well, check in with yourself if you’re feeling ravenously hungry or even snack-y and ask yourself, “Would I eat this if it was fish and broccoli?” If the answer is yes, you most likely are authentically hungry. If the answer is no, the need to pick up that chip or help yourself to serving number two could be coming from somewhere other than hunger. It’s ok if you do have the chip or second helping, just make sure you give yourself the opportunity to identify where the motive is coming from.
Bring Your Own Beverage! That’s right, leave the house five minutes earlier so you can pop into the grocery store to grab your favorite beverage. Depending on the event, pour your drink of choice in a fancy glass, drop that can into your logo koozie, or drink straight from the bottle. You can also set up a make your own drink station with items link sparkling water, fruits or veggies like strawberry and cucumber, and any optional alcohol for those who partake. You can also check out this amazing Model Meals mocktail for inspo. If you’re at a place where you aren’t able to BYOB, try ordering something like a glass of Perrier, unsweetened iced tea, or some water with citrus slices or muddled mint.
6. Set Up Your Support System
Traveling in packs has usually worked well in the past and this time is no exception. If you’re trying to avoid a food or beverage, or simply need an ally to help keep you accountable, share with your bestie, partner, or family member. You’ll feel so much more supported and strong knowing you aren’t going into an intimidating situation alone. Remember, it’s not their responsibility to keep you accountable or call you out, but it is your responsibility to ask for help when you need it. Plus, they’ll feel special knowing you trust them to help you out.
7. Prepare Yourself Mentally
Sometimes we’re so focused on the physical aspect of things that we neglect the importance of our minds. Do you know that movie theaters trigger your need for popcorn or snack foods? Is it hard for you to go to a game without getting a cold beer? Note these challenging scenarios and prepare yourself. Maybe instead of getting to the show super early you arrive closer to curtain so you spend less time near the concession stand. If you always get a cold one on your way to your seat, decide what you might select instead or remind yourself how many less frequent bathroom trips you’ll take between plays. It’ll be worth it and you’ll miss less of the game. For more go-to tips to help prepare mentally, we’ve got five ways to set yourself up for success.
8. Set Your If/Thens
Imagining some If/Then scenarios can psych you up for the unanticipated. An If/Then scenario maps out what you commit to or will do in an “If” situation. Your “Then” should be an action that you feel comfortable asserting and completing. This won’t work if your “Then” isn’t something that you know you can do. For example, a scenario might look like, “IF someone offers to buy me a drink while I’m out celebrating my friends birthday, THEN I will thank them and order sparkling water.” This statement indicates the action that you will take if that situation happens. “IF the table orders appetizers, THEN I will find something that I can enjoy and order that for myself and offer some to my friends.” If/Then boundaries for yourself can be really helpful and secure your commitment to yourself and your goals.
9. Know What’s WORTH IT
This is another tip that has everything to do with you and nothing to do with anyone else. You get to decide what is worth it to you- foodwise or not. Maybe you know that spending a weekend in an AirBnB isn’t the best for your emotional health. Maybe you know that a piece of cake for dessert isn’t worth it at your coworkers office birthday party but it totally is when you’re celebrating your child’s first birthday. The key here is knowing when it’s worth it and when it’s not. Mary brought donuts to the conference room? Maybe not worth it. Grandma made her famous chocolate ganache cake special for your annual visit to Minnesota? Maybe totally worth it. Another good question to ask is, “do I know what this tastes like?” and “will I feel like I’ve missed out on the experience if I don’t have this?” You answers to those questions can sometimes give you all the information you need to make the right, and worth it, choice for you. Want to read more ? We sat down with blogger Caroline Fausel who shared her go-to tips with us.
10. Be Gentle With Yourself
News Flash: You’re Not Perfect...you’re human. And being human means that sometimes we make mistakes or completely throw caution to the wind in favor of our better judgment. We’re here to tell you it’s ok if you make a mistake, or eat ten cookies, or wake up with a gluten hangover after a killer late-night snack sesh celebrating your besties bachelorette party. The ability to extend ourselves some grace in less than ideal situations can say so much about our relationship with ourselves. While we would love to always eat the best food, stay hydrated AF, cut out this or that, and be the picture of health and vitality, that’s just not realistic when we have full, beautiful, and chaotic lives to live. Remember that being gentle with yourself, your timeline, and your journey is the best thing that you can do in the face of hardship or when you’re riding high on your latest accomplishment. For more on turning failures into lessons, check out our chat with Whole30 Certified Coach Judith Foreman.
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