It’s easier to stick to a healthy eating plan when in our own kitchen, while dining out can be culinary conundrum. That’s when we tend to make poor food choices and overeat. Healthy meals at restaurants can also be deceptive. Many “healthy” meals are packed with processed ingredients and unnecessary calories that will send the scale in the wrong direction. Follow these fit tips to make dining out guilt-free.
1 Choose Healthier Restaurants
Farm to table, chef-driven restaurants are becoming more common, as are fresh, organic veggies and grass-fed meats. Restaurants like these may be more willing to accommodate special nutrition requests.
2 Choose Plant Food
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are full of fiber that keeps us full. A meal doesn’t need meat to be indulgent. Replacing meat with fruits and vegetables allows for larger portions. Be wary of sauces that add calories.
3 Snack Before a Meal
Arriving hungry can lead to overeating. A low calorie, high protein snack will help to prevent that.
4 Food Preparation
Look for meals that are baked, braised, broiled, grilled, roasted, or steamed. Skip crispy, deep-fried, battered, breaded, or coated foods. If unsure, just ask the staff how the food is prepared.
5 Appetizers As Entrees
Portion sizes have gotten out of control. An appetizer is enough to make a filling meal. Consider supplementing with a side salad if needed.
6 Beware of Beverages
Drinks can add another meal’s worth of calories. Sweet tea, soda, and that cocktail are full of empty sugars with few nutrients. Drinking water before and during the meal will help to reduce calories.
7 Beware the Bread + Chips
Free bread and chips + salsa are hard to pass up! Unfortunately, they are one of the easiest ways to consume calories unintentionally. Ask the server to forego the bread or chip basket altogether.
8 Fill Up on Salad
Starting the meal with a salad is an easy way to add nutrients. Opt for greens, raw veggies, nuts, and seeds. Vinegar-based dressing is a better option than the creamy kind, and always order it on the side.
9 Make Healthy Swaps
Substitute vegetables for french fries. Choose white rice over brown, or an alternate healthy grain.
10 Eat Mindfully
This means giving our full attention to the eating process. Take time to savor the flavors and aromas. Chew food thoroughly and eat slowly. Pay attention to thoughts and feelings while eating. This helps improve self control and mitigates overeating.
By Lisa Mullin