Eating Healthy While Dining Out

How-To: Eating Healthy While Dining Out

I can’t even tell you the number of times I broke my healthy eating streak because I couldn’t resist a night out to dinner with the girls or with my family. Not only would I eat unhealthy foods, I would over eat because of the portion sizes that my meal choices came in! I have put together a list of tips to help you learn from my mistakes and stay on track!

  • Before you arrive at the restaurant, look over their menu (this can generally be found online). This will allow you to check the nutrient content and chose a healthy option to fit your dietary needs. Knowing what you will order before arriving can greatly help you stick to your guns!
  • Choose the healthier cooking options over fried! Check for keywords such as grill, bake, steam, broil, etc.
  • Many restaurants offer small items to snack on before the meal comes. When the server walks up for an initial greet, politely let them know you would not like any bread or chips to arrive.
  • Ask for any sauces or dressing on the side. That way, you can monitor just how much you are actually consuming. Always ask for low-fat or low-calorie dressings
  • When ordering a meal, ask the server to switch the side of French fries or loaded baked potato to steamed vegetables without butter added.
  • Most restaurants allow you to order the lunch portion any time of day. The lunch portion is usually half the size and half the calories! If the restaurant you are eating at does not allow or offer smaller portions, ask the server for a box when your food arrives. That way you can box half the meal and have lunch for the next day!
  • A second option instead of boxing your food is to order from the children’s menu, because they are smaller portions than adult meals.
  • Ordering sweet tea or soda adds empty calories to your daily intake. Instead, ask for unsweetened iced tea or water.
  • Don’t forget that alcohol counts as calories! If you cannot resist the urge to have a drink with dinner, stay away from frozen, blended, sweet drinks. Many restaurants now offer “skinny” options (example: ‘skinny’ margarita) that is made with lower calorie liquor. Also, you may opt for a light beer option (Bud light, Coor’s light, Michelob Ultra-Light, etc.)
  • One very important key thing to remember when eating out, be sure to stick to the MyPlate food guide. If you’re only looking for lowest calories, you may not realize your entire plate is made up of only vegetables, only protein, or you may be eating way more than one serving of one food group.
For more information on the MyPlate food guide, head over to www.myplate.gov.
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