Going to a restaurant is a great way to relax from cooking and have some fun with your friends or family members. However, many people avoid it because they think that eating healthy and eating out just don’t go together. Fortunately, it is possible to enjoy eating out and still stay healthy – and here’s how.
Read the menu before you go
If you’re not familiar with the menu of the restaurant, make sure to read it online before you go. The thing is, you’re more likely to make unhealthy choices when you’re distracted or under pressure. So, you probably won’t think too much about it when the time comes to order. This is especially true if you’re hungry, as you’re less likely to stick to your dieting plan if you can’t wait to eat. Therefore, pick your meal before you arrive so you can avoid any snap decisions that you might regret later.
Don’t go starving
Another way to avoid any rash decisions is to simply not go too hungry. Even if you can see the difference between healthy and unhealthy options, you’re still more likely to choose something tastier if you’re hungry. So, if you really can’t wait to put something in your mouth, have some fruit before you go, or you can have one of those healthy meal replacement shakes. Or, when you get to the restaurant, you can order a small salad before the main meal. Just keep in mind that the salad should be healthy as well, so avoid anything that’s described as creamy or comes with bacon or noodles.
Pay attention to the wording
Speaking of descriptions, the way a certain dish is described can give you an idea of how it’s prepared. For example, meals that are cooked, grilled, or steamed are usually prepared with less fat. On the other hand, if you see words such as fried, alfredo, crispy, or rich, it probably means that it has a lot of calories. Also, a cholesterol-free dish does not mean fat-free – it could still be prepared in unhealthy oil. Moreover, you might find many low-carb options on the menu, but again, low-carb doesn’t mean low-cal. In short, pay attention to the descriptions, and be aware of what isn’t described as well.
If you’re a fitness enthusiast, you probably already know the importance of protein for your body. However, not every source of protein is the same, so instead of choosing 800+ calorie ribs, opt for flank steak, tenderloin, or similar, leaner cuts. Chicken, fish, and eggs are also great sources of lean protein, so you can never go wrong with those. Moreover, if the portion you get is larger than your daily requirement, you can always cut it and take the leftovers home. You should also factor all the supplements you take daily, from the essential CoQ10 to different types of protein powders so that you don’t overdo the intake.
Skip the fancy drinks
If you’re attending a social event that requires you to order something alcoholic, stay away from cocktails and other exotic drinks. Instead, you can enjoy a glass of wine, a light beer, or a simple martini without any crazy twists. Also, stay away from sodas and other sugary drinks; the best thing you can drink is water. Drinking water during your meal can help you control your intake of calories. Plus, it can slow you down, make you more mindful when eating, and help your brain register when it’s full even before your plate is actually empty.
Skip the dessert
This might sound a bit challenging, but try to skip the dessert. Having a piece of chocolate cake, pie with whipped cream, or some other sweet delight, as tasty as it sounds, won’t do much for your health. Of course, there’s nothing wrong in indulging from time to time, but if you do like dining out regularly, you shouldn’t have the dessert more often than once a week. That being said, it also depends on the type of dessert – most types are unhealthy, but if the restaurant offers fruit bowls or fruit shortcakes, go for it. And finally, you can always have a piece of chocolate at home or some small sorbet, so try not to ruin your dieting plan at the very end.
Don’t be afraid to ask
Most chefs won’t mind making adjustments to your meals – but only if you ask. So, instead of the usual fries, ask for a salad. Also, you can ask for your food to be prepared with less oil, sauce, or cheese. You can even ask for your portion to be smaller. Finally, you can also ask for things that aren’t on the menu together, like fish form one dish and steamed vegetables from another. As long as they have the ingredients, most restaurants won’t have a problem with making your meals a bit healthier.
You don’t have to sacrifice your love for eating out in order to be healthy. Just make sure to do some research beforehand, not go starving, and pay attention to the descriptions. This way, you shouldn’t have any trouble choosing meals that are as healthy and nutritious as your own home-made ones.
Mia Taylor is a lifestyle blogger from Sydney and writer for www.highstylife.com. She loves writing about her life experiences. Travelling and enjoying other cultures and their food with her husband is a big part of her life. She is always on the lookout for new trends in fashion and beauty, and considers herself an expert when it comes to lifestyle tips.
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