In today’s busy world it is hard to stay on track with eating healthy. I want you to be able to go out to eat and be confident with your decisions. This article will help you make healthy choices when you are dinning out.
Eating out is a fairly common occurrence for many of us we we should plan for it! It is a nice treat once in a while or a convenient option when you don’t have time to cook a meal. But the fat, calories, sugar and sodium can add up very quickly if you eat our regularly. Here are a few tips to help you make smart, healthy choices the next time you eat out or eat on the run.
- Keep it small. Portion sizes at fast food counters and restaurants are usually bigger than what you would normally eat at home. Share a large meal with a friend, order an appetizer as your meal or ask to take leftovers home.
- Make smart choices. Almost every menu contains fish, chicken and beef cooked in a healthy way. Order foods that have been like baked, broiled, grilled, stir-fried, roasted and steamed. Avoid foods labeled sautéed, breaded, and fried. The hidden fat and calories add up quickly when food is fried, deep-fried, breaded or served with rich sauces and gravies.
- Watch the amount of sodium that you consume. By choosing fewer foods that have been smoked or made with soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. Look for “light” versions of these sauces or ask for them to be served on the side. Ask for your meal to be cooked without salt or monosodium glutamate (MSG), a seasoning that is very high in sodium.
- Skip the Appetizers. An appetizer is intended to get your appetite going. Most of the time when we order appetizers we are consuming well over 1,000 calories, not to mention all the fat as well. Most appetizers are fried and are not the best choices on the menu. If you are with a group of friends and they are ordering appetizers ask if they will split a healthier option with you such as, brushetta, ceviche, shrimp cocktail, hummus and veggies etc.
- Go full steam ahead with vegetables. You can’t go wrong ordering an extra side salad or dish of vegetables. Substitute your fries with vegetables. Hold the mayo and go easy on the amount of salad dressing, oil, butter or margarine that you add.
- Don’t eat the bread. We all love bread! We usually end up eating bread because we are hungry and it’s one of the first things to hit the table. Ask the waiter/waitress to not bring any to the table. This will help you to avoid temptation.
- Don’t drink soda. Yes that is right… no regular or diet sodas! Regular soda is packed with tons of empty calories and sugar. Diet soda is packed with artificial sweeteners which leads you to crave more sugar. A better alternative is unsweetened ice tea or ask for lemons to add into your water. These are calorie free and much healthier for our bodies.
- Order a salad. You have to be very careful with ordering salads. Some can pack more calories then a regular filet mignon dinner! Order salads that have fresh vegetables and fruit. Avoid salads that contain mayo (chicken and tuna salads), candied nuts, tortilla strips & high fat cheeses etc. Don’t forget to ask for dressing on the side. This way you are only using the amount of dressing you need vs having a salad drenched in it.
- Do your homework. Research the nutrition information of menu choices or surf the restaurant’s website ahead of time to look for healthier options that are lower in fat and lower in sodium.
- Stay Positive. Remember that healthy eating is all about balance! I try to eat clean and healthy 80% of the time and the other 20% are my cheat meals. If you happened to over indulge at a meal, then plan on choosing healthier options over the next few days. Get back up and keep eating healthy. Don’t let one bad meal set you back!
Eating clean and healthy is easy to do when your meal planning. I even plan my cheat meals. When I am out to dinner I have them planned. I look up nutrients and schedule that meal for the week in my meal planner.