For the most part, it’s easy to eat healthy when you are at home and can control every factor in your meal. But what do you do when you want to dine out? I believe this is a struggle most women deal with. It’s easy if you only like salads but what if you want a little more flavor without 1,000 calories? As someone who dines out three to four times a week, I thought I’d share my top tips on staying healthy while dining out.
Eating out at restaurants doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice eating healthy. There are multiple ways to beat the urge to indulge in all the sugars, carbs and high caloric plates that are notorious when going out for lunch or dinner. It may take a few tries but after awhile you will get use to healthier habits when eating out. Just follow my top tips on staying healthy when dining out and you will be all set.
One of the first things I do prior to picking out a restaurant to dine at is looking at the menu online. This gives me an idea on what is being served and if their selection has anything healthy to order or is just bad news. I am very conscious of what I put in my body so I like to be prepared and know what I am going to order in advance. This really helps me prepare so that I can avoid indulging in high carbs and sugars. I don’t believe in cheat days but rather eating healthy everyday. Once you reach the restaurant and are ready to order, don’t forget to ask how things are prepared so you are aware of how healthy the dish is made.
When you are committed to a healthy lifestyle, don’t be afraid to customize your selections. For example, if an item on the menu is fried, ask to have it grilled or have your veggies steamed instead of prepared with oil. I am also big at asking for no butter anywhere on my plate and sauces always on the side. This gives me the control of how much I use. Don’t be afraid to ask to make a few changes. Restaurants are happy to accommodate your special requests.
Another great tip to stay healthy when eating out is substituting your sides for something greener. Instead of those delicious fries or that mouth watering baked potato as a side, ask for vegetables like carrots or asparagus or even a side salad. (Sometimes I’ll just steal some fries from my husband or daughter to satisfy that craving.) Substituting those tempting sides with something healthier will be better for you in the long run. I know it will take some getting use to, but the more you do this, the more your body becomes you use to the change and actually start craving healthier foods. Also, skip the bread bowl.
While dining out for the night or all weekend, make sure to keep yourself hydrated and drink lots of water. In doing so, you actually eat less because your body thinks its full before your meal even arrives. Now if you will be drinking throughout the night, I suggest to plan how many drinks you want to have and what they will be. You can substitute here as well. Many alcoholic drinks are full of calories and can be easily swapped out for some better options. For me, I will choose a light beer over a margarita or a glass of wine over a cosmo. I also recommend to have a glass of water in between each drink which will slow you down and have you drink less.
As Professor Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, said in his book, “We can turn the food in our life from being a temptation or a regret to something we guiltlessly enjoy. We can move from mindless overeating to mindless better eating.” Ingrain these habits when dining out and you will be guiltless when enjoying restaurant food. After all, my family and I eat out about three to four times a week and still maintain our healthy eating habits. If we can do it, you can do it too.