10 tips for healthy dining out
Dining out has become essential in this fast-paced, multitasking society for its convenience and variety of options. However, it may be tricky to stick on a healthy diet when eating out. Here are some tips to make healthier choices when you’re not eating at home:
- Read the menu before leaving home: Do the comparison between your choices at home to make the most appropriate decision for you. Take a look at the nutritional content – calories, fat, sugar, and sodium. Check for the ingredients of the dishes to see whether it contains food that you should avoid or limit. And if the restaurant is not as “healthy” as it should be, you can always go to some other places.
- Control your portion: Share your entree with others. Ask to have half of your entree “to-go” before it’s being served. Order appetizers or sides instead of one entree. Ask for a small plate to have the food. Portion control would be important as serving sizes in restaurants are actually bigger than the standards.
- Restructure your condiments: Ask for little or no salt, butter, or dressing options. Put the dressings and the sauces on the side, and use fork dips for every bite instead of pouring it over your food. Taste your food before adding more salt or butter. Use spices such as pepper, lemon juice, oregano as substitution. These few tricks can help you cut back on your condiments.
- Go for more fiber: Have some plant-based options on the table. Ask for more vegetables – so instead of getting them as garnish, you can actually have them as a side, and don’t worry, you’ll not likely to be charged. Fill your plates with whole grain, vegetables and fruits. You’ll be more likely to be full when having these healthy extras.
- Start the meal wisely: Maybe have a fulfilling snacks before going to the restaurant – something higher in protein, but lower in calorie. Skip the bread basket. Order soups or salads to start your meal – but remember to be mindful of what you are putting in to the starters. Having these appetizers will prevent you from eating too much later.
- Stay away from the calorie drinks: Go for water with a bit of lemon for taste. Order some black coffee or tea without added sugar and other extras if you want something hot. Low-fat milk can also be a good choice; even though it may add a little extra calories, it is also nutrient-dense. And be mindful of alcoholic beverages – they may have higher calories than you expected.
- Coffee for desserts: Order some nice espresso after meal when offered desserts. You may want to skip that extra sugar and fat when it comes to dessert time.
- Ask for healthier swap: Replace your white bun with whole grain options. Get a larger portion of the salad and smaller portion of the potato; a side salad or even a baked potato are also better than fries. Ask for grilled items and skip the fried ones. These small changes can make a big difference in your diet.
- Eat your meal mindfully: Slow down and chew thoroughly. Put your forks down whenever you’re talking with your friends. Pay attention to the surroundings as a whole and skip any possible distraction to your meal. Take your time to fully savor the meal, while focusing on your thoughts and feelings of the experience. Mindful eating will help with self-control and, thus, prevent you from overeating.
- Last but not least, enjoy your meal: Think of your diet as a whole. Occasional treat – let’s say it again, occasional – wouldn’t make a big change to your health, as long as you are fully aware of what you eat and not letting it keep you off track. Be flexible, and let think of it as the food for your soul.
Nutrition On The Go, Inc.
Facebook: Nutrition On The Go, Inc.
Contact: (301) 263-7319
Address: 1201 Seven Locks Rd, Suite 360, Rockville, MD 20854