Restaurants, so delicious, and yet so often unhealthy. Most people unknowingly consume hundreds of calories when eating out at resultants without realizing it. You can easily eat more than 1000 calories in just one night out. Yikes. But eating out at restaurants doesn’t have to be a unhealthy caloric nightmare, there are lots of tips and tricks you can employ to make eating out a stress-free and healthy experience.
- GO OUT. Okay this may seem obvious but it’s crucial. Don’s stay home because you don’t want to eat too much or are too worried about your calories and food consumption. You have a life to live, don’t let you healthy intentions hold you back and pass up opportunities for a good time to stay home and eat steamed veggies.
- Research. If you know you’re going to dinner somewhere scope out the menu ahead of time so you know what kinds of things they offer and see if there are options that you would feel good eating. Go to the burger place and order a juicy burger every now and then if you really want it, but a lot of restaurants will have some healthier options if you look for them.
- Speak up. I used to get totally frustrated when my friends or family picked a pizza place or somewhere to eat without healthy options that I wanted to eat and then I’d feel like I was forced into eating something I didn’t want to. That was stupid, I admit it. Offer to pick the restaurant if you’re worried about what’s onto menu and pick somewhere you know there are things for you.
- Don’t arrive starving. Often times people who know they’re having a meal out later they tend to skimp on food beforehand so they arrive ravenous. This really only tends to lead to overeating. You end up shoveling food down quickly so you’re body doesn’t realize it’s full until you’ve eaten much more then you needed and then you’re left feeling gross and like you need to unbutton you pants.
- Easy on the bread. It’s such a trap. You sit down, hungry and ready for dinner and then you eat 5 pieces of bread while waiting and you’re barely even hungry when you’re meal comes. It’s a classic mistake, don’t fall for it.
- Order a appetizer as your entree. Most of the time a appetizer size portion is the perfect amount of food for my meal. So if there’s a yummy looking appetizer I order it as my meal and ask it to be brought with the rest of the food, that way I don’t get a enormous portion and end up eating way more than I meant to. Plus its always less expensive.
- Go halfsies. That’s not a real word but you know what I mean. Order a entree and split it with someone at your table. Sometimes restaurants will even split the portion for you and bring it out on two plates and more often then not its enough food for two people. If its not enough split a appetizer too. This is also really cost effective, so tip generously!
- Dressing on the side. It may make you feel like a basic white girl on a date but most times salads at restaurants come drenched in sugary dressings that negate any of the health benefits of the vegetables it smothers. Ask for it on the side and dress up the salad the way that works for you.
- Look for buzzwords. You know the ones, (deep) fried, breaded, battered, crispy (i.e fried in oil), crunchy (see crispy), smothered, loaded – stir clear of anything described this way! Instead look for items that are baked, grilled, boiled, fresh, light, roasted, seasoned, or steamed, they’re much healthier dishes.
- Treat yo self. Sometimes you just have to go for it. Indulge a little, enjoy life. A little while ago I was out eating a quinoa and apple salad that, while tasty, I realized I pretty much eat similar food all the time at home. Order something you wouldn’t make yourself at home and just enjoy it. Don’t be afraid to take leftovers home.
So thats about it. Life is about balance, go out and order dessert after your meal sometimes! You don’t have to be limited to the salad section if you want to be health conscious when you eat out, just be mindful of portions, they tend to be way more than you would usually eat and enjoy your meal out!