Making good nutritional choices when out to eat can be a challenge. Unhealthy choices seem to be everywhere! Also, distracted eating or peer pressure to overeat can happen very easily if you are out to eat with friends or family. So, what are some ways to eat healthy even when going out to eat?
- Start by choosing a restaurant with many healthy menu options. If you can access the menu online ahead of time, take a few minutes to decide what you are going to have before you go.
- Once you decide which meal you are going to have, look at the nutrition facts (if available) or calculate the calories before you go. Using a nutriton tracking app such as MyFitnessPal can give you a better sense of how many calories are in the dish.
- Ask about substitiutions, side dishes, and possible beverage options. Some healthy side dishes could include: steamed vegetables, fruit, salad, low-fat cottage cheese, baked chips, sweet potatoes, or broth or tomato-based soups. Ask the server what low-calorie beverage options are available.
- If you are going to a buffet, swap out the plates. Use the large plate for the salad bar, and the small plate for the buffet line.
- When reading the menu, look for words such as broiled, baked, roasted, grilled, boiled, poached, or steamed.
- Avoid words such as crispy, fried, buttered, creamed, smothered, sauteed, breaded, au gratin, scalloped, hollandaise, bearnaise, alfredo, or batter dipped.
- Request that dressings or condiments be placed on the side. That way you can control how much you are eating.
- Split it up! Split your meal with another person or split the meal in half to take home with you.
We all can benefit from using a few of these strategies when going out to eat. See which strategy works best for you the next time you are out to eat!