Eating out is a part of our busy modern lives. Even though you need to be careful to not eat too much, it is possible to go out and enjoy yourself while staying healthy.
If you know how to pick the right foods, and the right amount of foods, you can go to almost any type of restaurant.
Be aware that the portion sizes at many restaurants are very large. Stay away from all-you-can-eat buffets. The temptation for overeating can be hard to resist at these places. Think and plan ahead:
- If you know you are going out, check out the menu online so you can make healthy choices ahead of time.
- Avoid eating out when you are very hungry. Eat a small healthy snack, such as carrots or a small apple, shortly before going out.
When ordering, do not be afraid to ask to have something cooked in a healthier manner such as baked or steamed instead of fried. Ask to have sauces served on the side.
Basic Ground Rules for Eating Out
Look for and choose:
- Salads and other vegetable side dishes
- Foods that are broiled, grilled, steamed, poached, roasted, or baked
- Chicken, turkey, seafood, or lean meats
Treat yourself only once in a while to:
- Anything creamy, fried, crispy, breaded, battered, or au gratin
- Sauces or soups with lots of butter, cream, or cheese
- Thick or creamy salad dressings
- Most casserole dishes
A few easy tips to keep the calorie count down include:
- If you were serving yourself a healthy meal at home half of your plate would be covered in green vegetables; if your entrée does not come with a vegetable order one on the side so you can still make a healthy plate.
- Choose carefully. Avoid eating foods such as rolls and bread just because they are on the table.
- Split a meal with someone, or ask for a take-out box and take half of your meal home.
- Order the "lunch size" of any food rather than the "dinner size."
- Order appetizers rather than an entrée.
- Start with a small salad or broth-based soup as an appetizer.
- Order the dressing for your salad on the side so you can control how much of it you use.
- Drink water or low-fat milk. Limit fluids that have empty calories, such as sodas.
- Limit how much alcohol you have with meals. Wine is better than frozen drinks or mixed cocktails that have juice in them.
- Skip your dessert, or share it with someone.