There are plenty of occasions that call for a night of dining out! Although we encourage you to cook most meals at home, it is inevitable that some of your favorite meals will be enjoyed when dining out. It's better to be prepared for success ahead of time in order to eat healthfully at a restaurant.
Helpful Tips for Eating Healthy when Dining Out
Go online and read the restaurant's menu first.
See if they have healthy or lighter options listed, or if there are ways to easily make healthy substitutions. If it is unclear what types of healthy choices they have available, you may want to reconsider the restaurant itself.
Request that your server not bring any free snacks.
This means no rolls with butter, tortilla chips and salsa, or anything else that may tempt you to snack before the main meal. You'll save a lot of calories by not mindlessly munching!
Be the first person to order.
You'll be more likely to stick to your original pre-planned healthy choice rather than going with the flow of your dining companions.
Ask for any sauces, condiments, and dressings to come on the side.
This will give you better quantity control. Flavor your salad or veggies with a pack of True Lemon and vinegar and save hundreds of calories!
Request that your meal be prepared with little or no oil, butter, or added salt.
With the growing number of people with food allergies and other health concerns, this should be an easy adjustment for the kitchen to make.
Leave the cheese off salads, appetizers, and entrees.
This is a really simple way to save a lot of added fat and calories.
Ask to have your entree broiled, baked, or grilled.
As opposed to fried, pan-fried, or sauteed - this will reduce the fat and salt content added to your food during preparation.
Choose soup as an appetizer.
Order a cup instead of a bowl, and opt for tomato, chicken, or vegetable stock soups instead of cream- or cheese-based ones.
Substitute that high-calorie starchy side dish for a dinner salad or steamed vegetables instead.
Usually restaurants will do this for free, or for a small up-charge. Remember to ask for the dressing on the side.
Avoid sugary beverages.
Skip that sugar-filled soda and order an unsweetened tea instead. Bring along a packet of your favorite True Lemonade or Limeade to add delicious flavor to regular water.
Ask for a to-go box ahead of time, when ordering.
This is an especially good idea if you're dining somewhere known to give large portions. Put half of your entree in the to-go box before you start - if its not on your plate, you'll be less likely to eat it. Bonus: you'll already have it saved for lunch tomorrow.
If getting dessert, go for the simplest option.
Often the healthiest dessert options are the ones with the least amount of description or ingredients, such as sorbet or fruit. If you can't resist the lure of chocolate or cheesecake, ask for multiple forks and share it with the whole table.
Order with confidence.
Be proud of your healthy decisions and let your positive attitude show! If others make comments on your food choices, deliver a response such as, "Yes, I'm choosing to eat healthier and I feel great!"
One final tip!
The restaurant wants you to have a positive experience so that you will return to their business. If your food does not come out as you ordered it, don't just settle for what you receive. Speak up and kindly let your server know so that it can be remade to your specifications.
As with any meal, remember that food is to be enjoyed. It is not about depraving yourself, it is about substituting items that will not only taste good but make you feel good too. Order foods that will nourish your body and soul!