Staying Healthy When Dining Out

You have been so good about sticking to your eating plan, but you are now faced with the challenge of ordering a healthy meal at a restaurant. How do you avoid the temptation of chowing down on that decadent, juicy burger? How do you know which dish will best fit in with your new healthy lifestyle?

Fried, grilled, steamed or baked? One of the main worries when it comes to dining at a restaurant is the high sodium content of the food. Menu items that are fried or crispy are best avoided. Instead, opt for grilled, steamed or baked options as these will be lower in both sodium and oil content.

Choose your side dish wisely – Salad or steamed veggies are obviously the wiser choices when it comes to healthy eating. However, certain side salads can be drenched in unhealthy, calorie-ridden salad dressings. To avoid this, ask for your dressing to be served separately. That way, you can monitor how much of it you use.

Meat lovers, listen up!

A mouth-watering steak can be incredibly tempting. However, red meat is known for being bad for your health when eaten in large amounts.If you simply cannot say no to red meat, choose a dish where it is used more sparingly and isn’t the hero of the meal.

Eat something two hours before you leave the house – If you get to the restaurant feeling ravenously hungry, there is a much greater chance that you will make unhealthy choices. To avoid this, try to eat something light about two hours before you are due to leave home.

Be choosy when it comes to sauces – There is nothing worse than a dry meal, which is why it is unrealistic to suggest that you forego sauces altogether. Alternatively, make educated choices. Say no to any cheesy or creamy options and opt to indulge in salsas or olive oil-based concoctions instead.

Triple the Vegetables

In many restaurants, a side of vegetables is more like a garnish. You may get little more than a spoonful of broccoli or a few carrots and cauliflower. Ask for the kitchen to double or triple the number of vegetables you would normally get and offer to pay extra. Rarely will restaurants charge you, but it’s nice to offer in case.

Order Light

Many restaurants are also including light or low-calorie menu options. Always ask your server for this menu. These items should be lighter and include fewer calories. Some menus even offer entrees that you would order off the regular menu in a lighter version. For instance, the portions may be smaller or the entree may be prepared a little bit differently. Ask about your options and feel better as you leave at the end of the meal.

Box Half of Your Meal

One effective way to curb your calorie count, especially if you don’t want to order lighter fare, is to ask your server to box half of your meal. Before the meal ever arrives, ask for a to-go box and tell your server you only want to eat half of your meal at dinner. Take the other portion home and save it for lunch the next day. Not only will you get two meals out of 1, but you will also save yourself a lot of calories at dinner in the process. Your waistline will thank you.

Being healthy when dining out is all about planning and educating yourself about the choices that are available to you.

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