Learning how to eat healthy dining out is a skill that many people find challenging to grasp. Sure, eating healthy while dining out at your favorite spots can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips on ordering and preparing healthy meals when you’re out with friends or family.
Order Vegetables or Salad as a Side Dish
Always strive to order fresh vegetables or salad as a side dish. Any restaurant worth your time will offer vegetables or salad as a side dish, so be sure to ask if they do. If they don’t, order your own and share them with your family or friends. If you’re eating at a fast food restaurant, try ordering extra lettuce leaves instead of French fries or onion rings, as these kinds of fried foods are some of the most unhealthy things you can eat. Certainly, avoid them if you want to discover how to eat healthy dining out.
Try to avoid ordering vegetables that come with the main entree. For example, if you’re eating at a restaurant that offers pasta and garlic bread as part of its menu, don’t order those items together. Instead, order pasta without sauce or bread without butter. This will help keep your calories down while still getting plenty of nutrition from what you eat. Making these kinds of changes can be tough at first, but the more you put the habit in place, the easier it becomes to stick to it.
If the salad has dressing on it like Caesar dressing or ranch dressing, try asking for it on the side so that you can use less and enjoy more flavor in each bite. If you’re eating out with friends, try splitting an entree with one of them. This will help keep your calories down while still getting plenty of nutrition from what you eat.
Make Special Requests for The Right Sauces
Another way to limit the calories and fat in your meal is to ask for sauce on the side. Sauces can be high in sodium, sugar, and calories (sometimes up to 200 per tablespoon). If you’re not sure if a specific sauce is healthy or not, ask your server what’s in it and whether or not you should get it on the side.
Most of the unwanted calories in foods sneak their way in through things such as beverages and sauces. Taking control of your approach to these lesser-known health hurdles can do wonders to progress your journey of learning how to eat healthy dining out. Remember to mind the sauces and drink water if you want to keep your diet under control when you’re not at home.
Choose The Right Restaurant
It’s going to be much easier to stick to your diet if you choose a restaurant that simply doesn’t serve excessive amounts of unhealthy food. Often, changing your diet is a matter of the environment more than willpower. For this reason, it’s wise to keep your pantry stocked with fresh foods and to avoid a restaurant that makes it all too easy to indulge in foods that cause more harm than good.
Sometimes you can tell the quality of a restaurant by its food grade stainless fabrication and other details like its water heaters. However, it never hurts to have a quick glance at the menu before you choose a place to eat. Knowing what you want to order can be one of the best tools you have when discovering how to eat healthy dining out. When you’re prepared and you visit a restaurant that has your health in mind, it becomes far more enjoyable to eat a meal outside of your own home.
Try a Smaller Portion of Your Favorite Foods
If you enjoy eating pasta or rice, ask for half the amount that is usually served. You can also try ordering a side salad instead of an appetizer or starter to get more vegetables into your meal plan. If you’re trying to watch your weight or eat healthier than usual, ordering the smaller portion may be the best option. You can still enjoy your favorite foods without overdoing it on calories or fat.
Ask For Dressing to Be Served on the Side
No matter where you are in your journey of learning how to eat healthy dining out, always make sure to ask for dressing to be served on the side. Most places that serve food, from event venues to food trucks, will be able to accommodate these kinds of requests. It’s a small step for you to take when eating outside of your home, but it can make all the difference in supporting your health and nutrition.
The olive oil and vinegar in salad dressings can add up quickly, so it’s better to just put your own on top of your greens if you’d like. You may not realize how much of a difference this makes when eating out at a new place. A little dressing goes a long way, so don’t be afraid to ask for more. Choose a salad with light or fat-free dressing as well so that you can reduce the odds of having a dressing that is unhealthy.
If you’re still hungry after your salad, ask if they offer any other vegetables that can be added to your meal. For example, if you ordered a salad with chicken breast, ask for an extra serving of steamed broccoli or carrots on the side. This will help fill you up without adding too many calories or grams of fat.
Stay Away From Fried Foods Whenever Possible
Avoid fried foods if possible. Fried foods are high in fat and calories, as well as sodium, trans fats, and cholesterol. If you do eat fried foods, try to choose a dish that is baked or broiled instead of fried. If you need to order something fried, opt for vegetables like onion rings or sweet potato fries over French fries or chicken fingers.
Limit your intake of fried chicken to once a week or less if you can. Despite efforts to reduce oils using grease traps, you will still consume lots of unnecessary calories when you order fried chicken, French fries, and similar types of dishes.
Order Grilled, Broiled, or Poached Foods Whenever You Can
You can still enjoy your favorite fried foods—and get a delicious meal out of the deal. Just ask for your entree to be grilled, broiled or poached instead of fried. Some places will even offer a healthy menu option that includes grilled veggies as well!
If you’re looking for something on the healthier side of things but still want to indulge in some fries or chicken fingers at least once every week (or month), try this tip: order them ‘lightly breaded.’ This way you’ll get some crunch without frying up your dinner too much. When you want to shed weight, it all starts with eating right, so mind these tips the next time you’re curious about how to eat healthy dining out.
Avoid Dessert As Your Meals Are 80% Of Your Diet and Snacks Are 20% Of Your Diet
You may have heard that dessert is the most important part of your meal. While it’s true that desserts can have some nutritional benefits, they’re not necessary for healthy eating and can actually make it harder for you to lose weight. For example, studies show that people who eat more than five servings of sugar per day are at greater risk for diabetes and heart disease than those who consume less sugar. So don’t feel guilty about skipping dessert.
Instead of eating entire pies or cakes when dining out with friends or coworkers or even ordering their favorite sweet treat yourself, try splitting one small piece between two people instead (or even just having one). This way, everyone gets what they want without having too much food on their plate overall. If there’s something else on the menu other than desserts like bread pudding or an ice cream sundae (which are great options), consider adding an extra side item. Hence, there isn’t any temptation around while waiting for foodie chatter after finishing up another round at happy hour.
Choose a Healthy Entree and Remember It Doesn’t Have To Be Salad
If you’re someone who is always wondering how to eat healthy dining out, then it’s a good idea to think outside of the box. Choose a healthy entree when ordering and be sure to remember that it doesn’t have to be salad. Most places nowadays have vast menus that include plenty of healthy ingredients, so do some exploring to find dishes that taste good without harming your health.
Focus on the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your plate should be filled with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains like rice or quinoa. If you’re not sure what to order for dinner, ask for help from the serving staff or make notes about what sounds good in advance so you can choose something else if you’re still hungry later (perhaps after dessert).
Ask questions about how each dish is prepared and where it comes from (for example, ‘Is this meat organic?’). These are important details because they’ll influence how much fat the item contains, and even more importantly, whether it has high levels of pesticides and other toxins that may cause health problems down the road. When food is prepared with the proper methods using the latest farm tractor technology and crop growth strategies, then you can rest assured that you’re getting a high-quality meal that will help you as you learn how to eat healthy dining out.
Share an Entree With a Friend, Family Member, or Spouse
Most restaurants serve large portions, which can make it hard to eat a healthy amount of food without overeating. Sharing an entree is a good way to avoid this problem. If you’re dining out with friends, consider sharing an entree. You can also ask the staff to bring out extra plates and dishes to make things easier.
Look For a Farm to Table Restaurant
Choosing what to order is almost as important as choosing where to dine out. There are plenty of new food movements, such as farm-to-table, that make use of fresh, local ingredients. To add to this benefit, these kinds of places also use sustainable practices in their farming as well, making the most of modern greenhouse construction and using water conditioning to maintain healthy, nutrient-rich crops.
When you are learning more about how to eat healthy dining out, trying out some new places that you’ve never experienced can be the perfect way to find what you enjoy most. Though it may take a bit of experimenting, remember that it’s worth your time and effort to learn more about eating right. After all, a healthy diet is one of the most crucial components of a well-lived life, no matter what age.
Have a Small Snack Before Going Out So That You Don’t Order Too Much Food When You Get There
When you go out to eat, it’s important to have a small snack before going into the restaurant so that you don’t order too much food when you get there. A healthy snack should be high in protein and fiber, and low in sugar and fat. Examples include fruit like an apple or pear (which are both high in water), yogurt (a great source of calcium), cheese sandwiches with lettuce or spinach leaves on top, hummus with pita bread slices, crackers topped with peanut butter or cream cheese, almonds, pretzel sticks, and celery sticks dipped into ranch dressing.
We hope these tips will help you learn how to eat healthy dining out. Remember that you are the one who has to make your choices, so if none of these sound appealing, then just skip the meal altogether. With some diligence and continued research, you’re sure to find the right foods that match your diet and your lifestyle!