Weight loss is HARD work.  Whoever said dropping 10 pounds (or any amount of weight for that matter) is easy, was lying.  There are so many reasons that shedding the pounds is difficult... whether it's because we are surrounded by sweet and savory fattening temptations or simply that our bodies prefer to hold on to a little extra weight, it seems as if the 'battle of the bulge' can turn into a lifelong war within our own bodies.  But today I want to discuss one of the most critical aspects of losing excess pounds and maintaining a healthy weight- consistency.

It's one thing to deprive yourself one day and stuff yourself the next, but it's another thing to 'reset your hunger signals.'  When I was heavier I ate WAY more food than I do now, and the thought of cutting back actually scared me!  My body was used to larger portions and I knew I did NOT like that empty, deprived feeling that accompanies any diet.  So the question is, how do you lose weight without being hungry?!

To quote Mireille Guiliano, author of French Woman Don't Get Fat, "There is no lasting glory in rapid weight loss."  I couldn't agree more.  If you want to lose weight and do so in a pleasant way that avoids hunger pains, then you need to cut back, little by little, and reset your body's internal cues.  It really should be a slow and steady process.

But who wants to wait?  Sure, you can lose 5 pounds in a week by doing something extreme, but I would never recommend it because those 5 pounds come at a price.  When you cut your calorie intake so suddenly, your body begins to panic.  You put stress on both your body and your mind. You deprive yourself of essential nutrients and you weaken your immune system.  Your metabolism lowers to maintain energy and you lose muscle tone and strength.  It's really not worth it!

Eating too little in an attempt to lose weight causes your body to go into 'famine' mode, so when you finally allow yourself to eat more than usual (i.e. you can't take this dieting anymore) your body goes into 'feast' mode where you consume copious amounts of food because your body (and mind) believe that following the feast, you will go into another famine.

Your body and mind respond SO much better to following a consistent healthy eating plan that's more maintainable and manageable.  I know some people aren't huge fans of counting calories, but when I was losing weight, I found the most reasonable way for me to do it was to take in roughly the same amount of calories each day.  This way, my body doesn't feel the need to 'pig out' at dinner because it 'trusts' that I will be fueling it up again tomorrow morning for breakfast.  I also don't need to eat the whole bag of M&M's or a whole pint of ice cream like this is my last chance to ever do so.  I know that I'll get to enjoy some tomorrow, as well!

'Consistency' is key to eating healthy, losing weight, and keeping your sanity!  So, forget about that crash diet, that 'magic cleanse', the 'Eat only grapefruit...or soup...or lemonade diet' that promises you'll lose weight fast.  Take 'baby steps' and make eating healthy a LIFESTYLE!



Have you ever tried to lose weight?  If so, how did you do it?  Do you eat 'consistently'?
 
 
Psalm 118:24 - "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

So, what keeps you busy these days?  What makes you smile... or laugh... or sleep really well?  Lately, I've been busy trying to balance reading, studying, blogging, eating right, and hanging out with friends.  I realize that most of my posts are written to tell you about something... how I lost weight, the benefits of certain foods, the importance of eating healthy, etc.  But sometimes it's fun to just sit back and be thankful for all the wonderful little blessings that make up our days!

Ecclesiastics 2:24 reminds me that, "There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God."

For one, my mum and dad came to visit for 'Parents' Weekend.'  We did a little shopping, some much-needed laundry, and we went out to eat at this great gourmet supermarket.  My parents spent time with my friends and I, and we laughed... A lot!

My brother and his wife are currently living in the 'married housing dorm' at my school so we all got to spend the weekend together.  They're adorable!  They baked some delicious gluten free treats together, like oatmeal banana chocolate chip muffins, moist cornbread, and macaroons dipped in chocolate.  My brother actually shredded all the fresh coconut himself!
I attend a Bible college where this week we welcomed guest speakers and studied through the book of Daniel!  I love this book of the Bible.  Daniel was truly a man of integrity who never compromised his commitment to God.  He was an honest hard worker who was well-respected at his job and in his community.  His faithfulness and devotion is such an inspiration!  Another nice aspect of the Bible conference this week was that we had a break from regular classes.  It was a nice change from my usually heavy class load and a great time to catch up with friends and relax!  My good friend Morgan and I went shopping.  (I mostly stocked up on Quest bars from GNC!)
A few of my friends and I got the chance to bake an apple pie with the fresh mackintosh apples from our apple picking adventure.  We bought vanilla ice cream, because let's be real, apples and ice cream is sublime.  The pie crust had gluten, but don't worry, we made some apples and cinnamon for me to enjoy.  If you want a delicious, healthier dessert, simply mix sliced apples with cinnamon and bake at 350 for roughly 15 minutes.  Enjoy over a scoop or two of fresh vanilla ice cream and you've got yourself a delicious, festive seasonal dessert!
Another one of my very favorite things so far this fall was a trip to the Poconos!  My friend's parents have an adorable cabin there on the lake.  We relaxed, ate delicious homemade food (a real treat for college students) and enjoyed a lovely, scenic, (chilly) ride on their pontoon boat.
We had a blast taking pictures together down by the lake!  The lake, the leaves, the laughs... it was such a beautiful day!
God wants us to gratefully enjoy the simple things He has so richly blessed us with.  If you know me, you know I find great happiness in 'the little things' in life.  I get excited as easily (and as often) as a child.  I believe that the best life is one that's filled with laughter!  "Sweet Nothings" may not be anything big or major... but they always make me smile.
How about you??  What's going on in YOUR life that makes you happy?
 
 
Do you LOVE pasta, but like me, you don't want to eat a bowl full or carbs?   Do you crave a tasty Italian dish, but you don't want the bloated-tummy feeling that sometimes follows a big bowl of the white stuff?  I don't know about you, but when the weather chills down and autumn leaves are falling, I find myself in the mood for a 'superfood' that warms me up and makes me feel both happy AND healthy!  I mean, let's be real, who doesn't love food that loves your body back!?  Today I want to tell you guys about one of my all-time favorite seasonal superfoods... SPAGHETTI SQUASH! 
 
Have you ever tried spaghetti squash?  If not, then you are missing out on one of the most interesting and delightful superfoods out there!  I love spaghetti squash because my mind thinks it's spaghetti, but my waistline knows it's squash. It's really a win-win!  

Spaghetti squash has roughly 40 calories per cup, as compared to regular pasta which can pack nearly five times as many calories and just about 4 times the amount of carbohydrates per serving.  It's naturally low carb and high fiber!  Spaghetti squash has vitamin A, vitamins C, E, K, and several of the B vitamins.  It contains essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper.  The fiber helps regulate blood sugar and overall, it provides your body with a pretty nutrient dense source of energy!
So, how exactly do you cook a spaghetti squash?  Well, you start by washing the outside.  Next, you cut the whole squash down the middle (lengthwise) with a sharp, strong knife.  Be careful, this part is a little tricky... the squash wants to roll, but it helps if you put it on a kitchen towel to hold it in place.  Then you scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the middle of each side.  Sprinkle the inside with a bit of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  Place each half face down onto a baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for about an hour (depending on the size).  When it comes out, let it cool down a little.  Flip over and and shred with a fork.  Then scoop out the spaghetti squash and enjoy!! 

It's so delicious and versatile AND it's all gluten free!!  I love it with some freshly grilled chicken, pesto and parmesan cheese, or baked with tomato sauce and mozzarella!  My sister-in-law made these amazing burrito bowls with black beans, corn, cheese, peppers and salsa.  Delicioso!!  You can even add it to soups or enjoy plain with a pat of butter!  Anything you would do to pasta, you can do to this lovely superfood... and you can feel happy and healthy about it, too.

 
 
Hello!! ...and welcome to another Weight Loss Wednesday!  Today I want to remind everyone about a basic truth of weight loss that often gets overlooked.  When it comes to true and lasting weight loss there's simply no getting around it.  If you want to lose weight (more specifically fat) then you need to take in less calories than you burn.  

When trying to lose weight, it's healthy to lose between 1 or 2 lbs a week.  I believe that in order to lose weight naturally and develop a new lifestyle, it's better to focus more on HOW you eat and less on the numbers you see on the scale.  I wouldn't advocate losing more than a pound of fat a week... Slow and steady wins the race!

Now don't get me wrong, I am NOT advocating strict calorie counting and hours spent on the elliptical, but the reality is that weight loss really is simple math.  It's not that you have to whip out the calculator and write down the calorie content of every last bite, but you should be conscious of just HOW MUCH you are eating.

I watch this British TV show called "Secret Eaters" and it's about people who keep gaining weight, but can't seem to figure out why.  On the show they hire Private Investigators to follow the dieters around, only to discover that they actually eat MUCH more than they think.  Many contestants on the show spend hours at the gym.  But they end up over-compensating and they eat back every last calorie they burned off... and then some!  Regardless of how active you are, weight loss comes down to 'calories in vs. calories out.'  Often, when hunger is spiked after a vigorous workout, most people feel they 'deserve' an extra treat.

Just because you go to the gym and burn 300 calories does NOT mean that you can eat whatever you want.  If you do, you WILL gain weight.  The key to sustainable weight loss and healthy weight maintenance is to be conscious of roughly how many calories you consume each day.  Recently, a friend of mine was asking for advice on how to lose some pounds.  She told me what she had eaten for lunch, which included 3 slices of swiss cheese on her pepperoni sandwich.  I reminded her to be careful of her portions.  She was shocked to learn that she had just consumed an extra 300 calories almost unconsciously.  She tried to reason with me that it couldn't be THAT much because swiss cheese is "tasteless."  She's going to have to walk on the treadmill for an entire hour to burn those 300 calories!

I believe in "moderation in all things" so in order to allow for my daily chocolate treats, I am sure to watch my portions and moderately control my calories.  My mom likes to say that 'you lose more weight in the kitchen than in the gym' and that you need to be smart about what you put in your mouth.  It's all about balance, but when you eat consciously and fill up on nutrient dense foods leaving room for treats, you can lose weight in a way that's healthy, realistic and maintainable.

How about you?  Do you eat 'consciously?'

 
 
Eating healthy can be hard!  I mean, let's be real, sometimes you just crave something crispy and salty... and while you know fried potato chips won't do your waistline any favors, you also know your usual 'carrots and hummus' just isn't going to cut it today... Cue "Lesser Evil!!"

I am so excited to introduce you to one of my favorite snack brands- Lesser Evil.  I don't know if you've ever heard of them, but they are amazing and you NEED them in your life!!  You can probably imagine how excited I was when I received a whole box of these lovely snacks from the company!  But, I wasn't the only one who was excited!  I brought these back to my dorm and I let some of my friends try them out!

They LOVED the snacks!!  We all agreed they tasted 'healthy'... but still tasty!  I'm all about that!  What's great about these snacks is that the "Super 4" snacks are made with nourishing ingredients like black beans and chia seeds!  These snacks have protein and they're gluten free!!  A serving is 46 pieces and only has 110 calories!!  Talk about 'bang' for your caloric buck!  One thing we ALL loved was that the serving size was so big!  The little snacks are actually shaped like macaroni!  I'm not gonna lie, I feel like a little kid eating 'em... and I love it!  46 cracker snacks per serving means you'll be munching for a while... and enjoying every crunch!

And the "Buddha Bowl Popcorn?"  YUM!  I'm a hard-core kettle corn lover!  It is one of my favorite snacks!  ...and I get to have 2 cups for only 110 calories!  The popcorn is made with natural ingredients that you can pronounce (and enjoy)!  Ingredients like organic coconut oil, organic popcorn and Himalayan pink sea salt!!  Their 'regular' popcorn only has 38 calories per cup!  WIN!

I've also enjoyed Lesser Evil's "Chia seed chips" as well!  Seriously delicious... and nourishing!  I love this company because it's so 'up-front' about it's ingredients.  I love it when I find a company I can trust... that makes eating healthier even easier for me!  If you want yummy, healthy snacks, be sure to check out Lesser Evil (such a cute name!).


What about you?  What are some of your favorite snack companies?!  What are your favorite snacks?

 
 
Sunset orange, burnt siena, bright yellows, and deep reds... Vivid leaves of vibrant colors falling from the trees and scattering like a brilliant carpet on the ground!  ...YEP, it's FALL!!

From oversized sweaters, comfy flannels and cozy scarves to mugs full of tea and pumpkin-spiced EVERYTHING, I just LOVE this time of year!  October is one of the BEST months... it's chilly enough to dress cozy, but not TOO cold that you can't stand to be outside.  October marks the first full month of fall and a crisp fresh beginning!  You all know I love 'fresh starts' as much as 'taking baby steps' to build a healthier lifestyle!  So this month I have some goals of my own that I think we could all apply to our busy lives to make October a little bit healthier, and a whole lot happier!

Here are 6 Goals for an 'Awesome October!':

1. Add Variety to Your Diet!- "Variety is the spice of life!"  I'm all about a healthy routine when it comes to eating right, but that doesn't mean your diet has to be boring!  Sometimes I find myself eating the same thing for lunch or the same 'healthy' dessert, but honestly, this isn't very satisfying... sure it may be an easy habit to eat the same foods regularly, but try to add a little "spice" to your diet this month!  Maybe that means grabbing a new vinaigrette for your salads, fresh cranberry relish, sweet potatoes and creamy soups.  How about some spaghetti squash at lunch?  Some pomegranate seeds on your spinach salad?  Roasted autumn squash at dinner?  Or even a mug of apple cider or pumpkin hot cocoa for dessert?!  Embrace the delicious seasonal foods fall has to offer!

2. De-stress- Where to begin?!  This semester I've been so busy with school work and it has definitely added an extra measure of stress in my life.  I find myself passing up time with friends to work on a paper or finish a project.  While that's fine to do once in a while, it's important to prioritize responsibilities and make time for yourself.  This past weekend my best friend came up to visit and I finally got to take a break from all my school work and just relax.  It's important to do what we need to do, but it's just as important to take a deep breath... sometimes we just NEED a break!

3. Clean up- It may not be time for "Spring Cleaning", but FALL cleaning is just as important!  I'm naturally a bit disorganized (despite all the efforts of my mom to make me organized).  But I always find that I'm much more efficient and I think so much more clearly when I 'clean up' a bit!  Psychology shows that a 'clean house creates a clear mind'!  It may feel like there's no time to organize that closet, sort through your backpack or straighten up your desk, but it's almost always worth the effort when you do.

4. Eat Real, Nourishing Foods- You guys know I'm all about 'Food Freedom' -- learning to balance your treats in a natural, healthy way.  I've been 'gluten intolerant' for a few years now, but recently I've had some strange stomach aches.  In an attempt to feel my best, I've been choosing more nourishing foods.  I focus more on quantity and portion control and I allow for QUALITY treats everyday!  Try 85% dark chocolate over a Snickers bar, or a raw vegan dessert with only 5 or 6 ingredients instead of a processed cake roll!  You'll feel so much better eating these more nourishing foods, and you'll actually find that they can be delicious and quite satisfying, too.

5. Go Walking- I don't play sports and I'm no 'Gym Junkie', but that's not to say I sit on my bum all day long!  About a month and a half ago I bought a Fit Bit Pedometer as a way to track my steps and 'up' my goals.  I aim to walk at least 10,000 steps a day and find that walking is so natural and therapeutic... Fit Bit wirelessly syncs online, so I get emails with how many steps I've walked, calories I've burned, flights of stairs I've gone up and how many miles I've traveled each week.  This past week I walked over 30 miles! ...and the best part about walking is that it hardly feels like a workout.  When, it really is!

6. Have Fun!- Life's TOO short to waste time feeling stressed and anxious.  Unfortunately, I've been a bit stressed lately, so it's MY goal this month to focus on the joys of life and to enjoy each day!  So go ahead, plan a little fall harvest party, admire the fall foliage, make a leaf rubbing, go on a hayride, pick some apples, carve a pumpkin... Enjoy the beautiful change of seasons!  Philippians 4:6-7 reminds me, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

What about you?!  Are you excited for October?!  What are your goals this month?!


 
 
Everyone knows that a healthy life starts with a healthy diet... but it's SO much more than that!  We are holistic beings and we need to take a holistic approach to a healthy, balanced life!  From reducing stress to being active, a healthy diet is just the beginning!  One aspect of health that I rarely talk about on this blog is supplements.  While I do believe that the majority of the vitamins and minerals your body needs can be obtained through a nutrient rich diet, sometimes extra supplements can be very beneficial to your overall quality of life!

So I jumped at the opportunity to review 'Fish Oil Pills' by Body Vega.  When looking for a supplement, it's important to make sure you choose a quality brand that you can trust.  Body Vega Fish Oil Pills are the top-rated fish oil pills on Amazon!  They use clean, pure fish oil.  I'm all about quality.  Body Vega provides it!

Fish oil is believed to help sustain energy, promote a healthy body, increase immunity and even boost your mood!  You guys know I'm all about eating healthy because it makes you happy... Well, so do these supplements!  Fish oil is believed to help treat heart disease, reduce high cholesterol, fight depression and lower anxiety.  It may actually reduce the negative effects of Allzheimer's, ulcers, macular degeneration and various eye diseases!

Talk about a 'wonder pill'!!  Fish oil is also said to help aid in weight loss and even promote healthy skin (yes please)!! I know I'm treating my body right when I take these... in fact I just took one now!  They are a little bit on the larger side... but they're coated so they're easy to take, and no fishy smell or taste here!!

Soooo... if you, like me, want to live an even healthier life, then you need to add some fish oil!  And to make things even sweeter, the owner of Body Vega has offered ALL of you a special deal!!

If you want to get your hands on a bottle of this stuff, all you have to do is email Paul (the owner) at fishoil@bodyvega.com and explain why you like this blog, 'Hello Healthy Eating.'  Then, he'll send you a promo code so you can enhance your healthy life with fish oil!  After you get your COMPLETELY FREE fish oil pills, you simply need to write a review for amazon!  No cost to you, just a quick review!  I'm pretty sure you'll love em, but even if you don't... all you have to do is review 'em!

How about you?  Have you tried fish oil?  Would you like to?  What are some of your favorite ways to supplement YOUR healthy lifestyle?

 
 
These days, it seems like EVERYONE has the answer to how to lose weight.  Just google "how to lose weight" and you're sure to find drastic (and unrealistic) plans that promise to take the weight off in no time!  ...but did you know that 95% of diets fail?  Yep, that's right, the majority of dieters who DO manage to shed some pounds unfortunately end up gaining it back!

As someone who has lost a considerable amount of weight, I can tell you that 'quick fixes' NEVER work... in fact, they often make you gain weight (TOO true!)  As a 'weight loss veteran', friends often ask me how to lose a few pounds.  I've realized there are a few things that are absolutely crucial in order to lose weight the healthy way, and (just as importantly) keep that weight off!

I've decided to introduce a new segment to my blog called, "Weight Loss Wednesdays!"  ...We're halfway through the week and somehow the weight loss/ healthy maintenance goals we made at the beginning of the week can seem like a thing of the past!  ('Monday's Motivation' has worn off!)

Don't get me wrong, this is not a post about how to lose weight the unhealthy way, or a post encouraging under-eating.  Rather, I'd like to share with you guys what I've learned over the past few years about how to REALLY lose weight and keep it off.  No gimmicks, no quick fixes, just REAL work and REAL results.

The first thing I always tell people when they're trying to lose weight is-- Never eat in a way you couldn't do for the rest of your life.  If you can't image eating 'low-carb' for the rest of your life... then don't bother doing it for a week.  Real weight loss comes through baby steps and lasting lifestyle changes.  I've done low-carb diets and I'll tell ya what, they work... for like a week!  Your body loses weight through sheer force and as your carbohydrate stores get low you begin to drop large amounts of water weight (and fast).  But what happens when you finally eat carbs again?!  Yep, you often regain the weight!  You overeat them because your body is starving (not to mention craving) carbs.  At least that's how it works for many of us.

I love the TV show 'The Biggest Loser', but did you know that many of their contestants have left the show only to regain all the weight back?!  Talk about discouraging!! That's because they approach certain foods as the 'enemy'.  This unhealthy relationship with food causes fear and makes them feel "bad" if they eat "the wrong" food... this is NOT the way to do it!  Restrictive diets promote binge eating.  In order to find balance and peace with food you cannot view foods as strictly "good" or "bad"... you need to find balance.

I am not Jillian Michaels.  I will NEVER advocate "tough love" when it comes to weight loss.  Instead, I'll recommend REAL love.  If you really want to love your body, love your life and love the blessings God has given you, then you have to learn to eat in a way that nourishes your mind, body, soul and spirit.  Have you even noticed that when someone follows a "new diet" (crash diet) that's the only thing they talk about?  They're cranky, irritated and miserable!  That, my friends, is not the way to do it!  Dieting makes you sad, but eating healthy makes you happy!!

My holistic approach to weight loss is all about balance.  If you can't imagine life without a sweet treat everyday... then don't go with out one!  When I was losing my weight, I was eating a scoop of ice cream EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.  I wasn't eating 2 scoops. I wasn't mindlessly shoving snacks into my mouth. I was eating balanced meals, small portions, and (as always) saving room for a little treat every day!  I don't advocate 'cheat days' or 'cheat meals'... rather, today, for "Weight Loss Wednesday" I want to remind you it's OKAY to eat a small portion of your favorite treats every day... and don't consider it a "cheat" (that's too negative for me!) it's a "TREAT" thank you very much!  


What you can't do is overeat, stuff yourself, skip meals, binge or restrict.  Weight loss is a slllloooowwww process!  In my opinion, the best way to lose weight and keep it off is to aim for a loss of a half to 1 pound a week!  More important than the number is learning to eat in a way that you can for the rest of your life!

So that's my first tip for healthy weight loss!!  How about you?  Have you lost some weight?  How did YOU do it?!

 
 
Ohhh... breakfast!  Ready to get motivated this Monday?  Start your day with a healthy, nourishing breakfast and you'll be on the right path!

You know what they say, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!"  Well, I'm here to tell ya, they're right!  I enjoy breakfast, I do... and I know from experience that skipping breakfast is NOT the way to lose/ maintain a healthy weight.  I'm not saying you need to stuff yourself with eggs at 7am... I'm not even saying you need to have eggs for breakfast!  I'm just saying... when you start your day off right, everything feels better!

Here are 3 reasons why you should eat a healthy breakfast:

  1. It Gets Your Metabolism Going- Think about your body as a car.  You wouldn't drive your car without gas, so why would you let your body 'run-on-empty'?  Filling your rumbly tummy with some nourishing grub in the AM is a sure-fire way to boost your metabolism so that you're energized and ready to take on the day!

  2. It Promotes Healthy Eating- This is so true for me.  I remember a commercial I once saw for a healthy granola bar. During the ad they explained how, "One healthy decision leads to the next."  Isn't that so true!  The more I eat 'healthy', the more I WANT to eat healthy!  When I start my day with a bowl of gluten free cereal with fresh milk and fruit, by lunch time I'm ready for a healthy, balanced meal!!


  3. It Prevents Late Night Snacking- This may not make all that much sense... but it sure is true.  When you start your day off with a balanced breakfast, follow through with a healthy lunch and dinner, and allow for some nourishing snacks/ treats, you'll find that your desire to snack on junk food late at night is gone... or at least, greatly reduced!  This is because your body is fueled up from 'day-time' eating.  Your BODY can use and burn those healthy calories throughout the day and your MIND knows that you're doing the right thing!


I don't know about you... but these are reasons enough for me to make time to enjoy a healthy breakfast everyday.  If I'm in too much of a rush to sit down to a real meal, that's okay!  I grab something easy (but healthy) and eat it when I get to class.  My favorite breakfasts are, an apple with filling oatmeal, eggs and fresh fruit, nutritious cereal with milk and fruit, a protein bar or fresh yogurt with local honey and berries!  I make sure to eat a healthy, balanced breakfast everyday so that I can feel my best!

How about you?  Do you eat breakfast?  What is your all time fave way to start the day?!

 
 
"There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God."  (Ecclesiastes 2:24)

Eating healthy at home is one thing... you get to choose simple, wholesome ingredients and prepare all sorts of nutritious meals.  But it can be much more challenging to eat properly at a restaurant.  Sure, they have options that sound healthy... but closer inspection usually proves that those sautéed veggies are swimming in oil, that turkey burger has more fat than a Big Mac, and the 'seemingly-innocent' salad is actually drowning in fatty dressing and covered with greasy croutons and shaved artificial cheese.  The point is: restaurant menus can be misleading!  But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a special meal without fear of weight gain.

While I'm the kinda girl who prefers to stay in, watch a movie with my family and friends, and make my own dinner... I DO enjoy eating at restaurants on occasion.  If you know anything about me, you know I'm NOT a fan of chain restaurants and I always prefer to go to a local cafe or a favorite 'hole in the wall'!  I feel like they have SO much more local flavor and are generally more charming and exciting than most chain restaurants.

I love to go out to lunch with a friend or enjoy dinner out with my parents.  When I'm home on college break, I make sure to go out for breakfast with my friends.  We've been doing it since high school and we love to try out fun cafes!  Along the way, I've learned the importance of eating a balanced diet, regardless of where I am.  Here are my 3 tips to 'eating healthy' at a restaurant:

1. Order 'a la carte'- When you're eating at a resturant it's often tempting to order the pasta with homemade sauce or the fresh cooked lasagna... while that's fine to do on occasion, those foods are often PACKED with unnecessary fat, carbs and calories.  BUT, if you order 'a la carte' you can get just what you want!  My suggestion?  Try 2 plain eggs with a carb for a breakfast... a salad with grilled chicken or salmon for lunch or dinner!

2. Buy the whole meal but eat half the portion- Let's be real, sometimes you go out and the last thing you want is another grilled chicken salad, I get it.  That's why it's totally fine to splurge every once in a while!  I'm ALL about that balanced life!  So go ahead, get the burger and fries or steak and potatoes!  Just remember that restaurant portions are usually WAAAY bigger than an actual 'serving' so instead of packing on all those calories, order a side salad and eat half your entree!  Take the other half home and enjoy it the next day!  That way you get TWO tasty meals!  Half the price... half the calories!  Good for your wallet... good for your health!

3. Eat healthy all day- So you know your going to a fancy dinner with friends or family at night and you're tempted to 'bank' all your calories for dinner, well... DON'T!  Seriously, not eating all day in hopes of 'saving' calories WILL backfire.  You'll end up STARVING by dinnertime, and the thought of 'saving half your entree?'...well it's NOT going to happen.  Trust me, eat a healthy breakfast and a balanced lunch and you'll be ready to enjoy a reasonable dinner.  You'll be a lot less tempted to stuff yourself!

4. 'Portion control' your dessert- My favorite part of any meal is... dessert!  I love dessert!  And 'special occasion' dessert is quite possibly the best thing ever.  My whole family loves dessert and we'd all be willing to eat a lighter dinner in order to 'save room' for dessert!  So do just that when you're out! If you love dessert like me, plan on having some!  Maybe it's a small scoop of gelato (my fave!!) or a sliver of chocolate cake (YUM!)  Whatever your treat,  make sure that it's small and 'portion controlled' and then, savor every bite!

5. Enjoy...and move on!-  So you just went to a lovely dinner... did you enjoy it?  Did you have fun?!  Then don't feel guilty about it!  Be happy with your food choices and simply move on.  If you ate more than you had planned on, don't dwell on it.  Eat a light, balanced breakfast the next day and go right back to your healthy eating routine!

Eating out is supposed to be enjoyable!  With all the 'diet obsession' these days, it's all too easy to feel guilty about enjoying rich food... but don't do that!!  Eat like a 'French woman' and enjoy your dinner out!  Eat slowly but happily, enthusiastically but consciously.  When it's time to go, leave the restaurant feeling  satisfied!  Hello Healthy Eating is ALL about moderation, balance, and happy, healthy food choices!

How about you?!  Do you like to eat out?  How do you eat healthy at a restaurant?