Eating healthy when you're out at a restaurant is actually easier than you think. Here are eight quick tips to help:
1. Avoid: ‘au gratin’ ‘buttered’ ‘creamed’ ‘hollandaise’ ‘cheesy’ ‘fried’ or ‘rich’. All of these will have lots of added fat, cholesterol and calories. Opt instead of steamed, poached, grilled, or baked.
2. Check out the side menu first. This is where you will get a look at all the veggies the place has to offer. Even if they are prepared in an unhealthy way, you’ll know you can at least ask for a plate of steamed veggies if all else fails.
3. Replace sides like fries and onion rings with steamed veggies or a green salad. Fried, starchy, cheesy side dishes are not your friend. If they have a house salad or a side of veggies on the menu, definitely opt for those instead (Bonus Hint: Eat them first! Your hunger will be curbed by all of the fiber and nutrients before you move on to the heavier food on your plate).
4. Skip the dressing, go with olive oil & vinegar on the side. Salad dressings are often our worst enemy. Tons of hidden calories, fat and especially, sugar, can be lurking in these guys. They can totally sabotage your healthiest intentions of eating salad. Opting for olive oil & vinegar that you pour on yourself, ensures that you not only avoid the hidden negatives but, also puts you in control of how much oil you’re adding on to your plate of plants.
5. Be creative. Combine appetizers and sides to create a meal. Just because they have big entrees doesn’t mean you have to order them. Portion sides are out of control these days. Opting for a starter and a side can go a long way to reduce your caloric intake and avoid overstuffing yourself. It will be plenty of food (and you can always order more if it really wasn’t enough).
6. Eat slowly, savor and enjoy it. Many times it’s not just what we are eating, but how we are eating that can be affecting our health and waistlines. Being present, enjoying and savoring our meals slowly can be fantastic for improved digestion, nutrient absorption and feeling satisfied from less food.
7. Just eat half. Restaurant portions (especially chain restaurants) are legitimately out of control. Sometimes I feel like they are four times the size of what a normal person would should eat. Be aware of this. It’s OK to ask for a doggy bag.
8. Ask for what you want. Doing so in a friendly, polite manner will often be met with a favorable response. Most restaurants are catching on to their patrons’ concern for their health and are usually happy to accommodate requests.