7 Tips to Eat Healthy While Dining Out
Whether it’s dinner and drinks with friends, date night with your significant other, a quick meal after a long day at work, or carting the kids around from one activity to the next, we all know the struggle of trying to eat healthy while dining out.
Your good habits don’t need to go to the wayside just because the food isn’t being made in your own kitchen!
7 tips to eat healthy so you can enjoy a night out without the guilt!
1. Budget For It!
Plan, plan, plan! If you know ahead of time that you are going out for a meal, you can plan accordingly throughout the day. This might mean loading up on fruits and veggies or skipping that afternoon snack. There are a lot of small adaptations that can be made throughout the day to allow you to indulge a bit more during that special meal.
2. Order Water!
Say no to that fancy cocktail or skip the soda or juice with your meal. Instead, order some good old-fashioned water. Drinking water before and during your meal can aid in digestion and help you feel fuller. As a result, you won’t feel the need to eat as much. If you need to add a bit of flavor, don’t be afraid to ask for a slice of lemon or lime.
3. Skip the Appetizer
When you’re sitting around a table catching up with some friends, you may automatically default to ordering a couple of appetizers to share. While you’re mindlessly snacking on your pre-meal snacks, you can end up eating double what you would have otherwise. The easiest way to keep your portions under control is to just say no to appetizers.
4. Check the Legend
To avoid feeling too overwhelmed by the menu, watch for healthy symbols beside item names and find out what they mean. When available, these symbols will point you in the direction of meals that are wheat free, dairy free, low sodium, low calorie or vegetarian. This saves you from being tempted by all the food you may not want to be eating. Sometimes fewer options are better!
5. Order First
When you choose a healthy option that you would like to order, be the first to order so you aren’t tempted by what your friends order. This way, you don’t have time to change your mind after hearing when those around you order fried chicken wings or a delicious plate of pasta. Being the first to place your order means that you avoid that added temptation and stick to your guns.
6. Pick a Healthy Side
Often times when you order a meal, you have your choice of a side dish. You can choose between soup, salad, fries, baked potato, veggies and even sometimes onion rings or mac & cheese. Picking that healthier option like a garden salad or steamed vegetables can allow you to splurge a bit more on that main dish… or dessert!
7. Make Changes
The menu is never set in stone, so don’t be afraid to ask for some changes. Get that salad dressing or sauce on the side. Ask for the chicken to be grilled rather than fried, or even skip the bun all together! Don’t worry about seeming like a pain! You can make small, easy changes that can make a huge difference in the nutrition and calorie content of your meal.
Going out for a meal doesn’t have to be the end of eating healthy, nor does it mean that you can’t enjoy a good meal. You can make a lot of smart decisions throughout the day and while dining out that will keep your health goals in tact. Everyone deserves a treat, so don’t be afraid to still get that decadent piece of chocolate cake every once in awhile. After all, you deserve it with all the good choices you have been making!