Before we get into the tips of eating healthy in a restaurant…it’s unrealistic to think that we stick to a restricted diet 100% of the time. It’s perfectly fine if you feel like eating a burger and fries once every so often, and believe it or not – it’s all part of a healthy lifestyle!
Having a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean having chicken breast and broccoli for 365 days a year. It means giving yourself the permission to enjoy foods you crave for without triggering the feelings of guilt or shame. I can’t emphasise this enough, but foods should be something you enjoy, and if eating out once or twice a week is when you go out of your healthy eating routine – THAT’S COMPLETELY FINE!
However, if you tend to eat out quite a lot or have a lot of business meetings in restaurants, then this article might just be perfect for you!
1) Plan ahead
- Avoid all you can eat buffets:
- Let’s face it…we all try to get the most of our money back at buffets – which means we overeat.
- Avoid arriving the restaurant starving:
- Being hungry can lead to ordering too much food and overeating. Have a small healthy snack before going out if you haven’t eaten for several hours.
- Ask how the food is prepared:
- Order foods that are steamed, baked, broiled, barbequed, grilled or roasted. Limit deep fried, pan-fried, battered food and food listed as crispy. Fat and calories add up quickly when food is fried or breaded.
- Speak to your server about which choices have less salt. Some restaurants are more than happy to skip the salt for you during the cooking process.
- Avoid adding salt at the table.
- If you are tempted by your family or friends’ less healthy menu choices, think about ordering first.
2) Make healthy choices when ordering
- Go for whole grain choices
- Look for dishes that are made with whole grain, such as quinoa, barley, brown rice! Many restaurants now offer whole wheat or whole grain buns upon request. Don’t be shy to ask!
- Drinks wisely
- Go for water, or sparkling water with lemon or lime wedges, instead of soda pop, ice tea or lemonade. They are calorie free, and can quench your thirst! If you drink alcohol, limit it to one or two drinks for the day!
- Sauce on the side
- Sauces are usually loaded on sugar, salt, fat and calories. These include condiments, dressings and spreads! Ask for these on the sides and then just use enough to get some flavour.
- Salad instead of potato
- Restaurants are usually more than happy to replace the potatoes with a green salad at no extra cost. You never know unless you ask, right?
3) Watch portion sizes
- SHARE SHARE SHARE
- Portion sizes are usually huge in restaurants. Share your appetizer, entree or dessert. What about eating ½ and take the rest as leftovers for home?
- Avoid super-sizing
- Super-sized meals seem like a good deal all the time, we know! But, try to avoid it. You are just going to eat more calories, fat, sugar, and salt!
Let us know what tip worked best for you by commenting or emailing us! We love to hear how you cope with all the temptations when eating out.