Sometimes eating out seems like the most reasonable option for filling up that empty stomach. Unfortunately, restaurant dishes are often loaded with calories, as well as the saturated fat, sodium and sugar that make these meals taste so good. Indulging in these large, frequent meals can be costly in terms of time, money and nutrition. Whether by choice or profession, you will at some point find yourself at a restaurant, glaring the menu for the healthiest choices. Even the healthiest options are still generally higher in sodium, sugar, and saturated fat than a packed lunch or a meal eaten at home. Still, eating out has become so normalized in our culture that many people dine out daily at lunchtime and at least 2-3 times per week, so it’s important to know how to be smart about it. Below are 15 amazing ideas that you can take with you before you dine out again.
- Try to look up the menu online beforehand to preselect a healthy option
- When your eyes are bigger than your stomach and everything sounds good you just might be in trouble! If
you’re eating lunch or dinner later than usual, make sure you grab a piece of fruit or carrot sticks to eat on
the way to stabilize your blood sugar.
- Always order a water, even if you order another beverage, especially if it’s alcohol
- Start off the meal with a salad or broth soup packed with veggies.
- Consume the lowest calorie foods first to feel more satisfied before eating higher calorie foods.
- Ask for dressings, sauces or condiments to be served on the side
- Request individual bottles of olive and vinegar and some fresh lemon to use as dressing on salad,
vegetables, or meat
- Choose a side salad or fruit over chips or any type of fried potatoes.
- Don’t hesitate to ask about food sourcing, hidden ingredients (like cheese on salad), or preparation
- Request no added oil, butter, salt or sugar
- Choose grilled, baked or steamed dishes over the fried ones
- Choose leaner proteins such as chicken, fish or loin beef cuts
- If you’ve got grass-fed, pastured, wild-caught, or organic meat options, choose those above
conventionally raised meat
- You can always ask if an entree can be halved, or order a lunch portion, if available.
- Split dessert with the table and have just a bite or two, or enjoy seasonal fruit as dessert.
Following any of these tips is definitely a step in the right direction when dining out. Restaurants may be
intimidating to people trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, but with preparation and confidence you
can enjoy your restaurant meal without abandoning healthy eating.