7 Tips for Healthy Dining Out Eating out at restaurants doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel on your healthy diet. With the smart tips below, you can easily plan out your strategy without feeling like you sabotaged all of your hard work. Prepare to dine out with confidence!
Plan ahead. If you had a bigger lunch earlier in the day, plan on eating a light dinner in the evening. Familiarize yourself with cooking terms, as this will make ordering easier if you have a special dietary need.
Choosing a Restaurant
Think ahead. Visit restaurant websites to see if the menu is posted. You will be able to see see the wide range of menu items in advance or in some cases, nutritional information too.
Be deliberate when ordering. Ask your server questions. Balance your meal by including healthier selections from all food groups such as lean proteins, fruits, vegetables. For salads, ask for your dressing on the side or lean protein that is not fried. For any sandwich toppings, veggie options and condiments low in sugar and salt are best.
Substitute. Are you afraid to make a request to meet your nutritional needs? Don’t be. Many restaurants will honor nutritional requests, so go ahead and ask for a side salad to replace fries.
Control portions. Order an appetizer with a small broth-based soup or side salad in place of an entrée. Many restaurant portions are so large, they are enough to feed two to three people! Eat a smaller portion and take the leftovers home.
Eat slowly. Did you know it takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you aren’t hungry any longer? Fast eaters usually tend to be overeaters, while slow eaters tend to be satisfied with less food.
Eating Out with Kids
Choose a restaurant that caters to children. It is likely that a restaurant that caters to children will have smaller portion sizes, healthier options and meals designed to satisfy the nourishment and palate of little bodies.
Offer your child a few bites from your plate to introduce new foods, otherwise, let kids order their favorites. Select two or three suitable menu items and let them choose. Healthier sides like carrots or fruit can often be substituted in favor of high fat sides.