If you’re still not sure what to order since sleep deprivation affects your ability to make decisions, start with a small salad or even a broth-based soup. It is very nutritious and will also help fill you up before you decide on your main course. This food will mean you’re less likely to pick a big carb-loaded dish.
Instead of ordering something fried, try something that is baked, broiled, or grilled. Fish or skinless chicken is excellent when you are trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle, and they’re delicious items to order at restaurants too! Also, try your best to avoid greasy or oil meals.
We know it’s instinctive and delicious to order your meal with a side of chips, coleslaw, or even some buttery mashed potatoes, but challenge yourself to substitute these sides for something like vegetables or a salad. They are often just as delicious and, of course, a lot more nutritious when trying to curb your sleep-deprived brain.
Another issue with restaurants is that their portions can be too big. Train yourself to ask and see if they can do a half portion for you – or ask if they can put the other half in a takeaway bag for another healthy meal for another day? But, when a restaurant is involved, it often means dessert.
You don’t have to deprive yourself of dessert and sleep! There are often slightly healthier dessert options, and you don’t always have to pick the chocolate cake with a massive serving of ice cream. Opt for something like fresh fruit or even a sorbet if you have a craving for something like ice cream.
You also don’t have to go out to eat if you aren’t someone who can prepare healthy food. You can also order fast food. Yes, you heard that correctly – not all fast food is bad food! You don’t have to order a cheeseburger with salty fries on the side. There are a lot more healthy options on the menu, and some even provide you with the calorie count so you can make smart food decisions despite your lack of sleep.
Try going to a fast food place that gives you control over what goes into your order. For example, if you are at a sandwich fast-food chain, ask them not to put mayo on your bread, order extra veggies, and maybe even as them to put your toppings onto some healthy whole wheat bread. This option is a healthier way to give in to your sleep-deprived carb cravings.
Fast food restaurants like this will also often have things like salads or even soups. You don’t have to go for the obvious choice, but it will still be easy and convenient. Some fast-food restaurants will offer you build-your-own bowls or grilled meat and vegetarian options too. Your opportunities are endless!
Some tips when you’re passing through a more traditional drive-thru after a sleepless night include avoiding the fried options. Ask if they can instead give you grilled chicken breast on a sandwich. Also, order small portions instead of being enticed by the “supersize.” Perhaps even try out the kid’s menu, which will give you the taste of the fast food you’ve been wanting but not a huge portion.
You can also pass on any calorie-packed sides and toppings. And to top it off, don’t order a sugary drink with it. Get something with no sugar or one of their fat-free options. Cutting this out will be good for your health and teach you good eating habits when you aren’t doing so well with the sleeping side of life.
The last but not least option to eating healthy when sleep deprived is home-cooked meal kits! You can literally order them for the week and know that you’ll have food to make for every single day. Meal subscription boxes can be lifesavers for the sleepless! You’ll get delicious and healthy homemade meals without the bother of having to grocery shopping when you’re already exhausted.
There are hundreds of different companies that offer this kind of service, which means that you have so many options when it comes to different types of cuisines. The cost is definitely more than if you went to the store yourself, but when you factor in the ease and convenience of the delivery service, it evens itself out.
With pre-measured ingredients, you won’t have to use your brainpower too much, which will definitely be depleted when you haven’t gotten you 7-9 hours sleep in. You’ll also avoid wasting any ingredients that you may have bought unnecessarily if you’d gone shopping while feeling sleepy.
It’s terrific that scientists have discovered the correlation between sleep deprivation and unhealthy eating habits – we can now be aware of them and put measures into place that will prevent sleep deprivation from ruining many aspects of our lives. Pick healthy options, track your sleep cycles, go to bed when you’re tired, and let’s hope you wake up feeling rejuvenated and ready to do it all again tomorrow!