11 Ways to Eat Healthier at A Restaurant
Restaurants are businesses their primary focus is to make your you return, again and again. Salt, butter, oil, sugar, portion size and so much more is designed to get you addicted to their food, to keep you coming back and eat a lot so you are unbuttoning your pants and asking yourself, “why?”
It is tough trying to lose weight and it’s even tougher when your family and friends want you to go out to dinner. The good news is you can make healthy choices the rest of the time and indulge a little in a restaurant or you can pick healthy options when you’re out.
Even at fast food places it’s possible to choose healthier options, or at better restaurants they are used to customers who make specific requests, especially for people with special diets.
Eating out has been linked to obesity, per Wiley Online Library study. Eating out is a growing trend, and restaurants often offer larger portions, sometimes for a great deal and energy dense food (more calories). This great deal can seem tempting when people are trying to feed families on a budget.
Away from home food contains more fat and saturated fat, less fiber, than foods prepared at home. Also, larger portion sizes contribute to obesity per The American Journal of Heath Promotion.
It seems restaurants want to get us addicted, impressed with how tasty their food is and coming back for more. But we can go out to eat and still make choices that will help us on our path to a healthier life.
Here’s a quick list of the best choices to make when eating out.
Eat Smaller portions.
One way to eat a smaller portion is to ask the server to have half of your meal placed in a to go box or ask for the box and do it yourself.
Order a few healthy appetizers instead of a full meal.
The portions will be smaller, just make sure it’s healthy: garden salad, a grilled or broiled fish or anything else prepared in a healthy way.
3. Drink Water (add lemon for flavor).
Drink a glass of water before your meal and keep drinking as you eat. In fact, in between bites drink water. Drinking water beforehand ensures that you aren’t thirsty. Often what looks like hunger is just your body needing water.
4. Smart Choices.
Make smart choices about how your food is prepared. Choose grilled, broiled, and baked instead of fried.
5. Bread Basket.
Avoid the bread basket or have one small piece.
6. Starter Salad
Order a starter salad and watch the salad dressing. Be careful what dressing you choose or order your dressing on the side and add just a little bit for taste or even dip a little bit of your salad into the dressing as you eat.
7. Order From Lighter Items.
When restaurants offer a list of healthier options choose from that list.
8. Share Dessert.
If you must eat a dessert and sometimes we must, share with the whole table. Just have a bite or two of that dessert and realize those bites do count.
9. On The Side.
Get dressings, and sauces on the side. I always ask for my dressing on the side and sometimes even mayo or whatever sauces the restaurant adds to my dish, that way I can control how much I’m eating.
10. Think Veggies.
Make healthier choices like veggies instead of fries or a veggie burger instead of a burger (with less fat). I ask for steamed veggies because they are healthier and I will often ask them not to put any butter or oil on my food.
11. Be Prepared.
Check online before you visit the restaurant. You can find menus to prepare, calories and nutritional information.
Here are some links to help you eat healthier at restaurants:
- Menu Stat guide to search restaurants for nutritional information.
- ChoosemyPlate.gov provides lots of nutritional information for your life from the department of agriculture.
- Healthy Dining Finder can search your zip code give you restaurants that offer some healthy choices and then you can find out the nutritional values for those meals.
- Here are 12 keys that people who have lost lots of weight and kept it off use to stay slim and fit!
Hope you all are able to make some healthy choices next time you go out and reach your goals!