Dining out can be a challenge, or an excuse, for many trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s for travel, work, social, or convenience eating out has became common in most households. Going to a restaurant shouldn’t be your excuse to eat unhealthy. It may take planning and discipline but you can enjoy your meals out without sabotaging all your hard work.
Here are some tips on how to make healthy choices at restaurants:
1. Don’t be shy about asking for changes on the menu
• Steamed veggies instead of fries
• Brown rice instead of white
• Sauces and dressings on the side
• Omit any items on entree, ex. cheese, sauce, chips
• Raw veggies instead of tortilla chips
• If there are no healthy grains, ask for double veggies
2. Ask how food is prepared, regardless of what menu says. Many proteins and vegetables are cooked with butter or oil. You can request steamed veggies and grilled proteins, no butter.
3. Entrees are usually more than one serving size. Share a meal or pack half to take home. You can also order an appetizer for your entree for a smaller portion.
4. Beware of entree salads loaded with extra fat and calories. Read the description carefully and ask to leave off any undesirable items. Ask for healthy dressing options on the side. Any restaurant will have a bottle of balsamic vinegar available.
5. Drink water throughout the meal. It will slow you down, help you enjoy the food more, and let the message get to your brain that you’re full.
6. Check the menu online before you leave home for the best options. Some even have the nutritional information available, usually a reality check to extras you are consuming!
7. Ask the server to skip the bread basket. If that is not an option for the rest of the table, and you can’t resist, ask for whole grain and avoid the butter.
8. If you don’t see what you want on the menu, ask for it. My go to meal is a salad with with either grilled fish or grilled chicken. I asked for it cooked with no butter or salt. Any restaurant can accommodate that order.
9. Choose fresh fruit or espresso for dessert.
My favorite healthy menu choices:
• Shrimp Cocktail
• Tuna Tartare
• Sushi Rolls wrapped in cucumber or rice paper, or brown rice
• Salad (custom) with grilled chicken, fish, or steak – grilled, no butter, balsamic vinegar on side
• Baked sweet potato (plain) with grilled chicken or fish
• Guacamole or salsa with raw veggies (instead of chips… ASK)