There are a ton of delicious local restaurants to try, all with great food, so sometimes it can be difficult to eat healthy when dining out. We want to taste a little bit of everything, but sometimes that can be a detriment to our waistline. Often portion sizes at restaurants are much bigger than our stomachs! We want to clear our plates, but that’s not always the best option.
If you know you are going to be eating out for your next meal, it can be tricky to find something healthy on the menu. However, you can eat right and still have fun! In fact, social meals can be quite a delight; you just have to find the right balance between healthy and fast, convenient food since there is often a trade-off in choosing one over the other.
If you enjoy eating at a sit-down restaurant like Rich’s Proper Food and Drink or Villa Barone, you can plan ahead because their menu items are published on their websites. Decide ahead of time which healthy choice you will opt for and stick to your plan. Forgo the bread or chips and cheese offered before your meal and go for a healthier option like a salad!
Tips for Healthy Eating When Dining Out
1. Plan Ahead.
Many restaurants have their menus posted online. Many of them even have nutritional information posted on their menus! Download their menu, and decide ahead of time what will be the most nutritional meal for you. Learn how to read the nutrition information on websites so you know what to look for when you decide what to order.
Instead of a heavy baked potato as your side dish, opt for green beans or steamed broccoli! While you may feel that green veggies aren’t as tasty as a nice big baked potato, they are much healthier for you, and your waistline will thank you for choosing those options!
WebMD lists the top excuses people have when it comes to eating green vegetables, but they state that you should “get over” these excuses and eat them anyway! Many people have excuses for why they don’t like to eat veggies, but really, you should try to eat as many as you can in a day. They help keep your diet balanced and get you healthier!
If you know you are going somewhere that is extra tempting, you might want to eat something like a side salad before you head out the door. That way, you won’t be starving when you get to the restaurant. If you are very hungry when you sit down to eat, you might order and eat something you will regret eating later. Our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs!
2. Eat a Healthy Snack Beforehand.
There’s nothing wrong with having a snack before a meal, especially if you are doing it to curb your appetite. Consider munching on some popcorn, a yogurt, a granola bar, or an apple before going out to dinner. Your eyes won’t be bigger than your stomach that way!
If you can make a side salad before you go, fill up on lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and other veggies! This will help you stick to your healthy eating-out plan!
3. Drink Water.
Drinking water before and during your dinner is a proven way help avoid gaining weight. Plus, did you know that water actually fills you up? Avoid the “free soda refills” that many restaurants offer, as they are just sugary drinks that you do not need.
There are many health benefits to drinking water, too! Water can help you lose weight, reduce the chance of having migraines, reduce aches and pain, and make your skin glow. Those are pretty good side effects for something that is free!
Water can help your body work the way it should. If you don’t like plain water, spice things up by adding a lemon wedge or cucumber! Some people even use water flavoring packets in their water to give it a variety of flavors!
4. Don’t Finish Your Plate.
I’m sure you’ve been told to “finish your plate” before. However, if you share your meal, get a smaller portion, or only eat half of your meal, you are actually helping your health.
If you split a dinner, you may even save money! You and a friend can split the tab if you’ve split the meal! Talk about saving money when going out to eat!
Taking a portion of your food home is a smart idea. It will save you from having eaten too much. Plus, who doesn’t love leftovers the next day? If you take part of your meal “to go,” you’ll get even more goodies tomorrow — something fun and exciting to look forward to!
5. Eat Slowly.
When you eat slower, you give your brain time to catch up with your stomach, which reduces your hunger. Chew your food thoroughly to make sure you are taking full advantage of this shortcut! You might even put your fork down between bites to slow things down.
How to Eat Baked Potatoes
If you get a baked potato or other kinds of potatoes, avoid smothering it with butter and sour cream. This increases the grams of fat you are taking in. Instead, flavor your potatoes with salt, pepper, and other tasty seasonings.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
They say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When going out for your favorite eggs for breakfast, consider forgoing the bacon or hash browns. You might pass on the buttered bread or opt for wheat toast.
If you decide to hit Lincoln Square Pancake House or Log Cabin Pancake House when you eat breakfast, be careful with pancakes! The syrup is high in sugar and will most likely spike up your blood sugar! Plus, pancakes are full of carbs, if that is something you are watching at the moment.
No one is saying to stay away from pancakes; they are a delicious treat! Just watch the quantity and amount of syrup!
There you have it – five top-notch tips to help you eat smarter and healthier when you dine out! Now, the next time someone wants to “grab a burger,” you can happily accept without feeling guilty because of your dietary restrictions or the fact that you want to eat rightall with great food