How to Dine Out Healthy Tips
- Don’t Come Starving! We often overeat when dining out because we are overly hungry. Snack on a few veggies before you leave home or the office to take the edge off your hunger. This will help you feel less hungry when you order your food and make better decisions about how much to eat.
- Pick the Right Place. The first thing I look at in a restaurant menu is the salad selection. If the restaurant has an abundance of salad choices with a plethora of leafy green options I know not only is their food fresh, it also has the potential to be tasty as well as healthy. Often times many ethnic cuisines offer great salad and vegetable options- Mediterranean, Italian, Mexican and Japanese, just to name a few.
- 3 Bs. Before I even get to a restaurant, I remember my three B’s: watch out for bread, butter and beverages. Say No to the Bread Basket, Don’t drink your calories, and ask for NO Butter on your food.
- Just Skip it! Skip appetizers if really hungry and save your appetite for the main course. Often times you may scarf down the appetizers and move on to the main course before your body gets a chance to signal your brain that you full. If you’re only a bit peckish an appetizer may satisfy you as well.
- Stick to your Food Groups! When dining out make sure you stick to your food groups when you order. For ex. make sure you get one of each: (protein: chik, eggs, white fish), (greens: salad, asp, broc, mix veggies) and (carb/grain: brown rice, sweet potato, oatmeal, English muffin).
- What to Avoid! Avoid these fat-laden buzzwords on the menu: fried, pan-fried, or sauteed. Fried obviously means that it’s been cooked in (and has absorbed) large amounts of artery-clogging, calorie-heavy oils. Sauteed means cooked in butter, which can be equally fatty. If they must sautee just request that they use olive oil and hope for the best. Your best bets are dishes that are roasted, baked, grilled, or broiled.
- Order it Right! I’m never afraid to speak up for a trimmer meal: I ask the waiter to serve the food WITHOUT SALT, BUTTER AND SAUCE, to eliminate unwanted calories and water bloating. Remember you are paying for this meal so make sure they make it they way you WANT it.
- Portion Control: For many people, eating out is an excuse to overeat. Before you even take the first bite, divide the meal in half. Take it home for another meal or share it with a friend.
- Just a Bite! For dessert, stop at one bite. Or if you still hungry share a dessert with a friend or split one treat for the table. You really only need just need a taste sometimes to be satisfied. Plus, if you order a cup of coffee or tea, you’ll have something to sip on while everyone else indulges.
By following these tips, you can drastically reduce the amount of fat and calories you consume on a typical dining out experience. That way, rather than thinking about how stuffed you are, you can pat yourself on a job well done and focus on your dining partners and the experience instead!