10 Tricks for Healthy Eating Out
Dining out shouldn’t blow your calorie budget. Follow these healthy eating out tips and not only will you enjoy your meal more, you’ll feel happy and healthy when you’re done.
I don’t know about you, but I used to be overwhelmed at the thought of eating out (Check out my 125 lb loss) and trying to stay within my calorie budget. It felt nearly impossible! Sometimes, I would just throw in the towel for the evening and “start over” the next day.
Then I realized there is no “next day”. It all accumulates and there is no need to “start over” if you are choosing to Intentionally Eat instead of dieting.
Government surveys show that when you eat out it is nutritionally worse than the food you eat at home. Well, you knew that already. Plus, the portions are ginormous!
So, how can you do Healthy Eating Out?
1. Have it your way –
You are paying for the meal, so ask for what you want. Most restaurants are very accommodating and will try to meet your requests. For instance, ask for a side of steamed veg instead of fries. Ask for all sauces on the side, you’ll be amazed at the amount of calories you’ll save. Be assertive and assume that they will meet your needs, most likely they will.
2. Ask questions
Lite doesn’t necessarily mean light in calories or fat, so ask how the food is prepared. Ask if the veggies are sauteed in oil or steamed, it can save you a lot of calories.
3. To Go Please
Ask your server to box half your entree before they bring it to you. We all know how massive restaurant portions are, so you will still feel satiated after your meal, but not stuffed. Bonus, you’ll have lunch for the next day.
4. Double up
Ask for extra veggies. The typical side of vegetables is often quite small compared to the rest of the meal, so double up and get them steamed. You will get full by adding lots of fiber and nutrients, but not get fat because you will save calories.
Be sure to start your meal with salad or a healthy soup. Studies show when you start with either you consume less calories than those that didn’t have the first course. Remember, keep it healthy by avoiding creamy sauces, bacon, fried noodles, croutons, cheese and cream based soups. Keep it a simple as possible, just veggies.
6. Go Dipping
Most of us know this tip, but its still a good one. Order your salad dressing on the side, dip your empty fork into it, then into your salad. You will enjoy dressing with every bite, but save a load of calories and be surprised out how little dressing you really need.
7. Know the lingo
It’s all about marketing, so you have to recognize what is really being done to your food. Creamy, breaded, stuffed are also know as loads of fat. Also, skip buttery, sauteed, au gratin, scalloped, a la mode, etc. That’s just adding heavy fat to your plate and body. Pay attention to the low-carb craze, too. Low-carb doesn’t mean low-calorie and usually means tons of fat and cholesterol.
8. Bread or Dessert
Intentional Eating is all about choices and having the freedom to eat and still be healthy. When you budget your calories you are free to choose if you want to have bread, dessert or neither. If you are working toward dropping pounds you wouldn’t want to choose both, but if you are eating healthy for the long haul (I hope you are), you might want one or the other. So, take charge and ask your server to skip the bread basket or the dessert plate and you will feel in control.
9. Drink up
Skip those high calorie alcoholic drinks and sip water instead. It will help your body to feel full and won’t cost you any calories. If you want to spend some calories on alcohol opt for a glass of wine or beer. I always ask for a club soda with lime, its fizzy, satisfying and no calories.
10. Look before you leap
I saved the best tip for last. If you are dining at a chain restaurant look at their online menu. Know what you are going to eat before you get to the restaurant and you’ll be able to budget your calories and fight off “in the moment” temptations. If the restaurant doesn’t have the nutrition info you are looking for, try HERE.
Hopefully, you will be able to enjoy dining out and still stay within your healthy guidelines. It’s all about choices and making wise ones.