Eating out can be fun and delicious, but it also adds a lot of fat, calories, sugar, and sodium to your diet.
Therefore, it’s essential to make healthy food choices when dining out. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy restaurant dining without compromising your health or weight.
1. Ask for a to-go container
Dining out can make it challenging to make healthily-minded food choices. Portion sizes are usually larger than what one would find at home, and dishes often come with sauces or dressings that add fat, sugar and kilojoules to the menu.
To avoid this, request a to-go container that is large enough for the portion you desire. This way, you can safely transport your meal without fear of spills or getting messy.
When dining out, it’s essential to use a to-go container made from sustainable materials like compostable paper, sugarcane or wheat straw. These are more eco-friendly than plastic containers some restaurants use and they’re durable and easy to clean – ideal for diners wanting to reduce their environmental impact while dining out.
2. Ask how food is prepared
Food preparation can be a time-consuming endeavor. It involves numerous steps, from harvesting and sorting to cooking, storing and preparing. Though this task may seem intimidating for those new to it, proper nutrition plays an integral role in overall wellbeing. So before you dive in to grab something quick at the supermarket, consider these tips for making informed decisions that benefit your wellbeing.
The most crucial step in weight loss is making healthy food choices at all times. You may feel tempted to order the latest craze, but this can have disastrous results on both your waistline and bank account. Eating more fruits and vegetables on a regular basis will reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes; additionally, limit sugary and salty treats to a few small plates per day.
3. Start with a salad
Salads are an ideal way to get in your recommended serving of vegetables. Additionally, they’re an easy way to incorporate other beneficial ingredients without worrying about calorie content or fat content.
If you’re looking for ways to make your salads healthier, consider adding various healthy greens like spinach, kale, arugula, dandelion or escarole. These vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that will make your dish much healthier.
Nuts, seeds and hard-boiled eggs can all be combined to add protein. You could even add dried fruit such as cranberries, cherries or pears for an enhanced flavor and texture.
4. Pick dishes that highlight vegetables
Dining out can be a rewarding experience from time to time, but the calorie, fat and sugar content can quickly add up if you’re not mindful. With these strategies in place, however, making your next outing healthier by following these strategies.
For starters, opt for a restaurant that provides a health-focused menu. Many modern menus feature icons to identify the healthiest options and many accept requests for items without saturated fat or salt. Vegetarians will be delighted to know that many ethnic eateries provide plenty of veg-friendly choices as well. Plus, many top restaurants will be eager to assist you with a friendly smile as you navigate their offerings; in some cases they may even provide free samples! If you have kids along, don’t be shy to ask for something special; even kid’s meals are welcome at these establishments!
5. Order seafood
If you’re a seafood connoisseur, the pleasure of fresh catch when dining out can be immense. But for those trying to make healthier food choices, seafood may present a challenge.
To cut back on fat and calories, opt for seafood prepared in lighter ways. Look for dishes that are steamed, baked, broiled or grilled instead of deep-fried or fried.
If you decide to order fish, request it be sourced locally and sustainably. Doing this ensures the quality of the catch is maintained without it being raised in an industrial-like setting. If unsure about its origins, speak with your waiter or chef who can tell if it was caught by a local fisherman or purchased from a seafood wholesaler. They also help determine which dish is best suited for you.
6. Ask about specials
Making healthy food choices when dining out can often be done ahead of time. Many restaurant chains post nutrition information online, and some even provide nutrition facts pamphlets. This way, you can be prepared for what to expect when selecting which restaurant to visit.
Restaurant options abound, but it may not always be possible to eat healthily at every meal of the day. When dining out with children, for instance, choosing healthier menu items might be your only choice. The key here is keeping everyone content while still sticking to a budget – select items that appeal to you while avoiding those you find offensive. Likewise, if your kids are starving and you don’t feel like cooking an extensive dinner, opt for quick snacks instead of full courses instead of sitting down to a lengthy meal.
7. Ask for a smaller portion
While we may not all have the same level of control over what goes into our mouths, asking for a smaller portion can be an economical way to save money while still enjoying delicious food. Eating out often can add up to quite a bill, so asking for smaller portions could be worth trying if you want to cut back on costs while still enjoying great meals.
Nowadays, many restaurants provide healthier options for hungry patrons to choose from, so you can order with peace of mind knowing your meal will be both tasty and nutritious. You may even be pleasantly surprised at how small portions are compared to what you were expecting; therefore, always check with your server first to make sure there are no other customers around who might also be looking for something economical. After all, why waste a perfect plate just so someone else is satisfied?
8. Skip sweet drinks
Dining out can be fun, but it’s essential to make healthy food choices when you do. Here are a few strategies for staying on track while eating out.
1. Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Everyone should strive to limit added sugar intake to no more than 10% of their daily calorie intake.
2. Avoid high-sodium foods. These may include items that have been smoked, fried or made with soy or teriyaki sauce.
3. Keep sodium intake under control with light versions of these foods.
4. Opt for whole grains. Many restaurants now offer whole wheat or whole grain buns, tortilla wraps and pasta upon request.
Eating a nutritious snack before going out to the restaurant can help suppress your appetite and prevent overeating. Choose an item high in protein so you’ll feel full without being tempted to overindulge.
9. Ask for the nutrition information
Nutrition is an integral component of human health. Without sufficient amounts of essential nutrients, our bodies begin to suffer.
Recent survey by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that most restaurant chains provide calorie information on their menus. This includes listing the total number of calories for standard menu items on menu boards or near those items, as well as statements indicating written nutrition information is available upon request.
When dining out, ask your server for nutrition information before placing an order. Doing this helps you make a more informed decision and prevent ordering unhealthy foods. Furthermore, ensure the dishes do not contain excessive levels of fat or sodium – saving money while guaranteeing you get a nutritious meal.
10. Look ahead
Eating out can be fun and sometimes necessary, but it also packs on the pounds of fat, calories and sodium. Here are some tips to help you make healthier food choices when dining out.
Keep your calorie intake low by opting for salad instead of fries, or ordering an appetizer-sized serving instead of an entree. And, don’t forget to check the nutrition information on the menu before ordering anything!
As a general guideline, opt for a glass of lemon water (free!) as your beverage of choice and light beer, vodka soda or red wine as your alcohol of choice. This should be enough to keep your kilojoules and sodium intake under control. Lastly, remember to take your time when dining out – by following these simple tips you can dine out in style without breaking the bank!