The thing about restaurants is – they want you to come back; health isn’t generally their focus. They load you up with heavy fats, plenty of sugar, salt and simple carbs to heighten your dining experience. Unfortunately that can also reduce the quality of your health, depending on how often you eat out. However, going in prepared to make the best possible choices makes eating out more approachable to the healthy eater.
Here are my best tips for eating out.
- Check the menu online when you are not hungry and before you go. Choose wisely and don’t open the menu once you get there. Order as planned.
- Eat some veggies and drink water before you leave for the restaurant. This will help you make good choices and still leave you hungry soon enough to enjoy your meal. Never go overly hungry as the choices will not be as easy to make and the bread or chips basket prior too easy to fall into.
- If it’s your choice, choose sushi or a fish restaurant. If Mexican, order fajitas with no dairy and light on the oil. Ask them to bring chopped romaine instead of tortillas. Makes a great salad! Add salsa to your heart’s content.
- Ask them to put chips and bread far from you. Once whomever you’re eating with knows you don’t want it, you will be less likely to ask for it. If you’re by yourself, skip them.
- Sit next to the most health conscious person at the table.
- Ask for your food the way you want it. Tell the waiter you want less oil, or no dairy, or skip the croutons. Don’t be shy; they are there to serve you.
- Try not to get things on the side; they sometimes serve more that way and you’re tempted. If you know it’s a place that over serves the dressing or toppings, go for the side instead and be mindful!
- Don’t clean your plate unless you’re hungry and the portion size is reasonable. That little bit that’s too small to save? Save it! Small bites make great snacks the following day!
- Many restaurants are already on MFP for logging. Chipotle burrito in a bowl, no dairy or guac? No problem, it’s there!
Be prepared to enjoy yourself and feel great tomorrow!