After a hectic schedule or after accomplishing a project or a report which has kept you busy the week, it is not a bad idea to treat yourself and your loved ones to a meal in a cozy restaurant. Giving yourself a “big treat” every once in a while would not be of much health concern. But if you dine regularly in restaurants, it would no longer be beneficial as the effect of those delicious dishes would surely pile up on your weight.
Now, we know you have probably thought of “how to eat healthy when dining out” because you will definitely feel for eating unhealthy food while on a diet. Keep in mind that restaurants are made to offer tasty, mouth-watering foods which may not be too healthy over the long term.
If you are a regular restaurant diner, you need to know six ways to eat healthy when you’re dining out. These are:
1. Have sauces and dressings served separately
When eating out, it is important to make healthier choices. One of the best tips for eating healthy is to have sauces and dressings served separately. As much as possible, choose restaurants that allow separate servings of sauces and dressings.
For instance, you will be able to avoid excessive fats and calories which most sauces and dressings contain. This will help you keep track of how much you are consuming and allow you to make more mindful decisions about what type of sauce or dressing you want to put on your meal.
Low-fat versions are always available, so try opting for those instead of ones with high saturated fat content. If possible, ask for a side salad with the dressing on the side rather than already mixed in. Also take note that tomato-based sauce is more nutritious than cream-based sauce because it is rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that is believed to help prevent prostate cancer.
Condiments such as ketchup and mustard can be used sparingly, but it’s best if you opt for a low-fat version or just leave them off altogether. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout your meal as well to help fill up your stomach and make healthier food choices!
2. Have it your way
Sometimes, you are forced to eat unhealthy restaurant foods because that’s what your friends want. You should not fall under the pressure of others when it comes to health and nutrition. It’s your body that you’re taking care of and it’s not them who will bear the negative consequences of the foods you eat.
Whenever you dine out with friends, always remember to eat the foods which are good for you. Your friends will learn to accept your taste after a few occasions.
3. See the menu in advance
Seeing the menu in advance can be a great way to make sure you’re eating healthier food. If you have an idea where your group is going to eat, always check the restaurant’s menu before actually going there. This will help you to make the healthiest choices.
Try to contact the restaurant for an advanced menu. If the restaurant has a website, you can also check it out for your healthy choice.
You can look for salads, vegetables or other veggie options that are lower in calories and portion sizes that fit your dietary needs. It’s also a great way to get an idea of what dishes will be available so you can plan ahead and make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need.
You may even discover healthier options on the menu that you hadn’t known about before. Seeing the menu in advance gives you more control over what food choices you make when dining out, which is beneficial if you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet.
4. Minimize appetizers
Many restaurants offer appetizers while they are still preparing your main meal in the kitchen. If you’re going to eat a full meal, you don’t really need to take appetizers because some of these can contain extra carbohydrates and fats which are not good for your health.
5. Stay away from “eat all you can” restaurants
Going out to eat can be a great way to have some fun, but stay away from “eat all you can” restaurants. Many people prefer to dine at “eat all you can” restaurants because they offer unlimited quantities of a smorgasbord of foods for a fixed price.
This type of restaurant is a good place to go for people who are extremely hungry, but some of their foods might not be too good for people who are health and weight conscious. Also, it is a good option when you’re on a budget, but you should avoid eating here too frequently as it might affect your health.
However, these types of restaurants typically serve food that is high in fat and sodium, as well as a lot of extra calories.
To avoid eating too much unhealthy food when going out to eat, start your meal with a salad or soup. When ordering meat dishes, remove the skin and select the healthiest options like baked or boiled items instead of fried. This will help keep you from overeating and consuming too many unhealthy fats and sodium.
6. Avoid starving yourself before dining out
Many people avoid eating for hours before a feast or a dining out affair. This is a very common practice that everyone has probably experienced.
You don’t have to starve yourself before going out for a meal in a restaurant; your hunger will drive you to choose foods that are more satiating but less healthy. To learn how to prepare healthy meals at home, check out our food blog posts for energizing recipes.