Here are 11 tips for choosing healthier options when eating out. These tips will help you lower calories, bad fats, sodium (salt), and cholesterol! You can still enjoy eating out but, try using these tips to help you make healthier choices when dining out. Enjoy!
1. Box half of your food to take home as soon as it is brought to you. Most portion sizes at restaurants have huge portions – way more than you need. Putting half of the food away to take home for later is going to immediately cut down on half the calories, fat, salt…etc. that you are consuming for that day!
2. Consider sharing a plate of food with someone. Again, most portion sizes at restaurants have huge portions – usually enough for two people to enjoy. Sharing a plate with someone else is going to cut all your calories, fat, salt, cholesterol, etc. in half immediately, and it is going to cost half as much too!
3. Order Appetizers instead of Entree’s. Ordering appetizers instead of entree’s can help decrease your portion sizes as well. Again, this will help decrease the amount of calories, fat, salt, cholesterol, etc. you are consuming. If you share with someone else, you can also try and enjoy multiple food options as well!
4. Look for healthier clue words in Menu options. Look for words like: baked, grilled, broiled, poached, steamed, roasted, or braised. These menu terms usually mean they are going to have less calories, fat, sodium, cholesterol, and added sugars compared to other options. Typically, you want to limit or avoid menu items labeled: butter-fried, creamed, buttered, breaded, crispy, or pan-fried. These foods are going to have excess calories, fat, sodium, cholesterol, and added sugars.
5. Eat light before you eat out. If you know you are going to eat out later, try consuming lighter meals that are lower in calories, fat, sodium, and cholesterol to make up for extra calories you are going to be eating later. This can help you be able to enjoy your meal with out the guilt 🙂 Some of us, like me, don’t have any guilt, ha! ha! That’s okay too, if you aren’t eating out too frequently.
6. Share sweet treats. In the mood for those delicious desserts? Order one dessert and give everyone around the table a fork to share. This allows you to still enjoy that yummy dessert in moderation, making it a healthier choice and perfectly okay every once in awhile!
7. Be smart with sides. If you want to indulge more in your entree choice, be smart with your side choices. Instead of french fries, mashed potatoes, or baked beans – try steamed vegetables, white rice, or a baked potato as a side. Also, instead of snacking on chips or bread before your food comes out, tell your waiter to wait and bring them out when your entree is served. Then you will be less likely to overeat and consume those extra calories.
8. Avoid buffets or All-You-Can-Eat establishments. If you tend to overeat, avoid buffets or all-you-can-eat restaurants. If you do choose to eat at these places, try and limit yourself to two small plates, and load up on fruit, vegetables, and salads first.
9. Load up on the vegetables with your sandwiches. If you are at a sandwich shop, choose lean meats (maybe even ask for half the meat) and load up your sandwiches with veggies. Choose whole grain bread choices and low fat spreads as well! Instead of chips and a soda, choose water and a side of fruit.
10. Order the child-size or smaller version of options. Since child-sized portions are smaller at restaurants (but are usually still enough for an adult), try ordering the child size or smaller size of options. This will help cut down on those excess calories, fat, sodium, cholesterol, and added sugars.
11. Drink Water. Cutting out the sugary or alcoholic drinks is an easy way to cut down on calories! Drink water more often to cut down on your bill, too 🙂