Do you ever feel like when you’re dining out at a restaurant and open the menu, you find yourself staring at a textbook size list of options? You know you want to enjoy yourself and eat something delicious, but you also want to be mindful and enjoy something healthier. Have no fear! Today’s blog post will offer a few simple tips and tricks on how to eat healthy when dining out!
- Many, if not all, restaurants will typically have their menu posted online. So before you even go out to eat, check out the menu! This will help give you a few ideas of what to choose, so you’re more likely to order a healthier option you’ve already determined.
- When looking at the menu, opt for menu items that are grilled, broiled, poached, roasted, baked, or steamed while limiting dishes that are described as fried, sautéed, creamed, rich, buttery, au gratin, breaded, or crispy. Tomato and vegetable based toppings are typically a good choice compared to creamy or oiled toppings or sauces.
- Rather than starting your meal with the bread from the bread basket, opt for a broth based soup or a starter salad. This way you’ll be starting your meal with a nutrient dense option and help you feel satiated sooner.
- Stick with drinking water during your meal rather than carbonated beverages. Water will help stimulate digestion and of course will save you money on your total bill!
- Also, don’t be afraid to ask your waiter how the food is prepared or to make substitutions. So for example, if a sandwich comes with French fries, ask to sub in a side salad or fruit as your side dish, or if you’re ordering a salad entrée, ask for the dressing, cheese, bacon bites, fried noodles etc. on the side (Bonus tip: with the dressing on the side, dip your fork into the dressing then spear your salad; you’ll still have the flavor with very little dressing). This way you’ll have more control of the portion size and can use a sprinkle of these toppings. Also, don’t be shy about asking to go light on the sauce if ordering a pasta dish for example, or, to have your veggies prepared without added butter or oil. Asking for double veggies is a great idea too!
- Many restaurants tend to serve very large portion sizes. Rather than eating the full plate, ask to box up half your meal and save it for later. It’s like getting two meals for the price of one! Sharing an entrée with someone else is another great way to control portion sizes.
- If dining out for a special occasion and you want to order dessert, why not just order one dish for the table and share a few bites each? Restaurant desserts are typically rich so just a few delicious bites should be quite satisfying!
- Finally, if you’re only dining out on occasion, you don’t have to deny yourself of something you really want. Moderation and balance is key to sustaining a healthy diet. Like I stated above, splitting that “not as healthy” dish with a friend or significant other or boxing up half to eat at another meal is a great way to still enjoy something you like without feeling deprived by not ordering something you’re truly craving. Be mindful of what you’re eating and savor each bite. This will help you be more in tune with your fullness cues and know when you’re satiated.
Happy Dining! 🙂