8 Tips for Healthy Dining Out

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Restaurant food is usually calorie-heavy and lacking in nutritional value. Some restaurants have food that looks, smells and tastes great but neglects nutrition.

Nutrition is often not considered when designing restaurant food. Main dishes are often very rich in fats such as butter or sauces, salads come with a heavy dressing and include few whole grains and fruits, and vegetables

Try these strategies when having a meal out and remaining on a healthy eating plan.

Sleuth It Out

Nowadays, people can find foods that are healthy almost anywhere. The trick is to know what a person is getting into before going into a restaurant and being tempted by appealing menu descriptions. Many restaurants also have their menus online, some with nutrition information readily available.

People will be able to find the destination with the healthiest options, and go into the restaurant ready to order the best meal and ask for substitutes when necessary.

Plan what to eat before you head out

Eat a light dinner like the one in your lunch, or consult ahead of time with the menu to plan your lighter meal. Eat slowly, because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to send a message to your stomach that you are full.

Add physical activity to dining-out routines by walking 10-15 minutes to the restaurant, or getting moving before or after a meal.

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Reconsider the size of your plate. Put less on your plate and try to replicate the same amount you would have at home. By doing this, you try to savor it more and can manage your portions better.

A balanced meal should include a variety of foods from all food groups–protein, dairy, vegetables, and whole grains. Healthy entrée salads with protein, fiber, and other nourishing foods can help to balance the menu. Ask for dressing on the side so you can control how much is used.

Add vegetables such as lettuce, tomato, avocado and onion to your sandwich for the best meal. If you want any condiments like ketchup, mustard, or salsa, choose from those.

Order a side salad, baked potato or fruit to give your meal more nutrition. With vegetables, salsa and chili, a baked potato can be an even healthier option.

Add to Your Meal

Eating healthily is all about what you can eat, not what you’re no longer able to consume. When ordering, choose items with healthy fats and avoid fried or sugary foods. Make sure to order a blend of fruits and vegetables and order lean meat.

Look For Desserts

Eating out is fun, but dessert always has the tendency to break healthy eating habits. One way to avoid this issue is by getting a dessert for the table. This way you can enjoy a few bites while still achieving your goal of eating healthy.

If sharing and not wanting to partake in a full dessert isn’t an option, then ordering a fruit sorbet or berries is also just as effective.

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Don’t Go Overly Hungry

If you’re hungry before eating, eat a small portion of fruit. Once you’re at the restaurant, order a soup or salad to keep from getting hangry.

Watch for the Wording

When reading a dish’s description on a menu, you can reverse engineer how the food is prepared by looking for words like “grilled,” “broiled” or “steamed.” Avoid dishes with descriptions like “fried,” “breaded,” “smothered,” “alfredo,” and “creamy.”

Ways To Get What You Want From Food

Don’t be afraid to ask for healthy options at a restaurant. For example, you could ask for salad instead of fries, and less cheese/oil on your meal. You can also order an appetizer size portion of your dish.

You can ask the chef to prepare an off-menu item for you. Many restaurants will gladly try to make what you want to eat.

Ordering in doesn’t have to be as unhealthy as cooking at home. With some savvy substitutions, you can enjoy meals just as healthy.

Skip the fancy pants drinks

If an alcoholic drink is necessary, you should avoid ordering complicated drinks like piña coladas and margaritas. These types of beverages include additives that are bad for your diet. Instead, order wines, beers, vodka with tonic or a martini.

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