Going out to eat may seem overwhelming and confusing if you are trying to stick to a healthier lifestyle. We’ve compiled a list of our 10 ways to healthy eating at a restaurant to take some of the hassle out of knowing how to order at restaurant. Better to enjoy the time out than fret over what to eat!
- Never go out hungry – Try eating a small snack before leaving the house. Slightly curbing your appetite will decrease the chance you’ll order the first thing you spot on the menu or devour that basket of rolls!
- Plan ahead – consider what you would like to eat. Sometimes knowing what you’re hungry for ahead of time can cut down on those less than healthy impulse choices.
- Drink water – it’s free and adds no calories to your meal!
- Substitute vegetables or fruit for sides – In the event your meal comes with french fries, chips or other unhealthy choices, substituting fresh or steamed vegetables or fresh fruits can cut down on fat, sodium and calories.
- Share with a friend – often portion sizes are larger than is really needed. Consider ordering a smaller portion or splitting a meal to limit the temptation to overeat. If dining alone you can ask for a take-home container to put half of your food in when it arrives at your table.
- Limit the fat and salt – Don’t be afraid to ask the server to limit the use of oils or butter or even forgo them in your dish or sides if possible. Sometimes restaurants will offer “light” or “low sodium” options to limit intake of fats and/or sodium. Additionally, look for dishes that can be steamed, grilled, broiled or poached.
- Ask for dressings and sauces on the side – This allows you to control the amount you put on your food. A little goes a long way!
- What’s the rush? – Take your time when dining out. Enjoy your meal and eat slowly, giving your body time to digest and let you know when you’re full. We tend to overeat when eating quickly and can end up with the feeling of being “stuffed.”
- Save the best for last – if ordering dessert, steer away from options that rich in cream and fats such as ice cream, puddings, dense cakes or cookies. Look for fresh fruits, sorbets, angel food cakes for a lighter end to your meal.
- DON’T FRET! If you found yourself eating too much or something that wasn’t the healthy choice you intended…well hopefully it was worth the calories. Resolve to eat healthier in the upcoming days and prepare to order more wisely the next time eating out.
Do you have a way that you make healthy decisions when you go out to eat at a restaurant?
What tips would you add to the list?
We would love to hear what you have to say, so comment below!
American Dietetic Association
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/DiningOut/Ordering-Your-Meal_UCM_301471_Article.jsp
University Health Services
USDA- National Agricultural Library
Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net