Friday, May 27, 2016

7 Tips for Eating Healthy At Restaurants

When I first started taking my healthy lifestyle seriously, I really struggled with knowing how to stay on track with my nutrition when we were at a restaurant.  My husband and I love to try out new restaurants (and return often to our favorites!) and it's truly a hobby of ours to dine out!  Though we have cut way back on how often we go out to eat, we have since learned how to choose healthy options so that we can still enjoy a meal out from time-to-time without being derailed from our goals.

Here are my top 7 tips for Healthy Restaurant Eating:

1) Split a meal with another person and/or have your server box up at least half of your food before they even bring it to you so that you're not tempted to eat more than you should.  American portion sizes are out of control and most restaurants give you 3-4 times the amount of food that you need for a satisfying meal! Get it out of sight, out of mind and then take your leftovers home for the next day!

2) Always ask for the dressing on the side!  Salads may seem like your healthiest option when you're out to eat, but this is truly not always the case!  Most salad dressings are extremely high in both fat and calories! Restaurants also tend to use way more dressing than is needed, so by requesting it on the side, you can dip your fork into the dressing before each bite to add the flavor without overdoing it. Opt for olive oil and vinegar when available, and avoid creamy salad dressings (such as ranch and bleu cheese) at all costs!

3) Stick with grilled/boiled/or baked protein--preferably chicken or fish.  Avoid breading and marinades and opt for fresh squeezed lemon and/or herbs for seasoning instead!

4) Skip the freebie!  Many restaurants will bring you chips and salsa or a bread basket before your meal, but ask your server not to bring any to your table.  Again, this is additional, unnecessary carbs and if it's not there, you won't eat it!  If you are out to eat with other people who may want the chips/bread/etc, chew a piece of gum until your meal arrives so that you are less tempted to indulge.

5) Ask for fruit or veggies as your side.  These options are often available even when they aren't listed on the menu and they are a much healthier alternative to fries, potatoes, pasta salad, etc.  If they are not able to accommodate you, simply ask that they don't include a side with your meal.

6) Drink at least one full glass of water before your meal arrives.  This is important!  So many times our bodies feel hungry, but it's actually a sign that we're dehydrated and need more water.  This should be something you also do at home, not just when you're out to eat.  Drinking water before your meal will help fill you up and eat less once your food arrives.

7) Check out the menu before you go.  This is especially helpful when you are dining out with other people.  Take a peak at the menu and decide what your healthiest options will be so that you aren't pressured for time in making your decision and end up going with something you will later regret.


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