Tips for Eating Healthy at Restaurants

Tips for Eating Healthy at RestaurantsNow that the weather is beautiful out and summer nears, many individuals flock to restaurants and cafes for a social experience.  But when you are on a diet, what do you do?  Do you avoid going out altogether?  Do you just engorge yourself and eat whatever because you are eating out?  Listed in this article is your complete guide to eating out at restaurants without destroying your diet.

Eating healthy at a restaurant is easier than it seems, but there are some tips one should understand to accomplish healthy eating at restaurants.  Many restaurants are now required to provide nutrition information and many actually list them on menus.  In addition to this information, many phone apps now have pretty accurate listings for nutrition information to help avoid eating too many calories.  The next time you plan to eat out at a restaurant, consider these following tips to help eat healthier.

Tips for Eating Healthy at Restaurants

  • Order Dressing on the Side. One of the biggest food “traps” is when you order a 50 calorie salad only to discover the dressing has 400 calories, all from fat.  In order to prevent this, consider ordering your healthy salad with the dressing on the side [1].
  • Share your Meal. Sharing meals has become much more popular in recent years.  Many individuals will order on entree and split it so both individuals get to eat.  This not only saves money, but it saves your diet.  Consider ordering a healthy meal with fish or lean protein and plentiful steamed vegetables to make this meal healthy.
  • Ask for Steamed Veggies. So you ordered extra veggies thinking you are eating healthy, only to discover they are prepared in loads of oil- essentially fried veggies.  This not only hurts your healthy eating, but it is deceiving.  Ask your server for steamed veggies to make your meal healthy.
  • Sandwich Restaurants are not that Healthy. Just because you go to a restaurant offering “healthy” sandwiches, doesn’t make the food healthy.  In fact, sandwich shops are a huge caloric trap for many.  To ideally avoid the calorie trap, ask to have your sandwich prepared in thin bread or, if you’re lucky, as a bread-free option (some places will make a sandwich with lettuce as the outer bun).  Limit your mayo on the sandwich and make sure to have it packed with veggies.  If fries or chips are offered with the meal (Subway offers cookies and chips), ask if you can have steamed veggies, fruit, or celery as your side (avoid the cookie or chips at Subway to keep the calories low).
  • Explore your Food Options. Chipotle is listed as one of the healthiest food chains in America [2], but this does not mean everything at Chipotle is healthy.  Checking your options at Chipotle will make your meal healthy.  Skip the tortilla and get a burrito bowl and decline on the cheese and guacamole to make this a calorie friendly meal.
  • Caution on Beer, Wine, and Soda. When you eat out, it is customary to order a drink with your meal.  A glass of wine or beer is something that is actually good for your health, so order one and only one.  Any more than this will add silent calories and will have your body storing fat much quicker.  Soda should be avoided if possible, but if you have one, try and have a diet soda.  Take caution with lemonade and other juices as they most likely are diluted sugary drinks.
  • Box your Meal. When you order your meal, ask for a box when the meal is served.  Immediately box half of the meal for the next day and eat the portion you have set in front of you.  Box it before eating because it is typically mighty tempting to eat everything before boxing it.

 

References

[1] http://www.choosemyplate.gov/healthy-eating-tips/tips-for-eating-out.html

[2] http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20435301_8,00.html

About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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