How to Eat Healthy at Restaurants
September 1, 2019
I definitely enjoy eating out. It’s fun!! I love the social aspect, the experience, and eating flavors I don’t know how to cook. I enjoy cooking but I’m no culinary expert. I don’t, however, eat out because I didn’t go grocery shopping and have no food at home, or I don’t want to cook. These are mental traps that might get us stuck in unhealthy eating because we eat out a lot. Here are some tips for eating out healthy. I hope it helps.
- Loosen up. This is my number one rule. If you’re going out, have fun and enjoy it. If your diet is mostly home-cooked, then you’ll leave the guilt behind. Plus physiologically, guilt packs on more weight. It’s not what we do once in a while that makes us fat and sick. It’s what eat all the time. Focus on doing “right” at home, and loosen up when you’re out.
- Scan menu. Certain words are clear red flags such as crispy, breaded, fried, cream, alfredo, etc. For better nutrition, look for grilled, steamed, baked, roasted, braised, broiled, seared, etc.
- Share. My husband and I normally share an entree and a salad. That feels like the best of both worlds to me because frankly, restaurant salads feel like a rip off. It’s a big mound of lettuce. I make way better salads at home and I don’t want to order salads all the time when I go out. Another idea for restaurants that serve gigantic portions is you can share one entree with an extra side of veggies, and save money. Bonus!
- Ask questions. I like asking about portion size. Also, ask how it’s prepared or if there’s a sauce. Sometimes, the wording isn’t very clear. It helps to know what to order and expect.
- Substitute. See if you can substitute the fries or chips for a salad or double the vegetables on the plate.
- Dressing on the side. Always order dressing on the salad. They often drown salads in dressing. Make sure there’s not a bunch of unhealthy, processed ingredients in your salad too.
- Don’t go hungry. Don’t ever show up to a restaurant starving. If you’re like me, I’d order too much and overeat. If you’re starving, grab a whole food snack (one ingredient snack).
- Drink lots of water at the table.
- Include exercise in your day.
- Balance. If you’re stuck eating a few meals out in one day, make sure they aren’t all heavy, large meals. Listen to your belly.
- Slow down. Eat slow and you’ll eat less.
- Order off the menu. Feel free to create a healthy meal of grilled protein and steamed veggies or salad.
- Box early. If you get something huge, cut it in half and ask for a box right away. I love left overs!