When trying to eat healthily and mind your diet (for whatever reason), eating out at restaurants can sound like your worst nightmare.
How are you supposed to know what’s in a dish? Or how many calories it has? How can you resist all that glorious food zooming past you in the hands of servers? Or consider skipping dessert?
If one of your current goals is to eat more healthily, you don’t have to shy away from going out for a meal. After all, dining out is one of life’s greatest joys – why deprive yourself of it just because of a mistaken belief that eating in a restaurant has to be unhealthy?
You can easily start eating out healthy at restaurants. Read our six tips…
6 Tips for Eating Out Healthy at Restaurants:
1. Read the Menu Three Times
Once you have a menu in your hands, read it several times. First, take in all of your options. Then consider what it is you actually feel like eating. Think about the things you might want to avoid, like fried foods, for example.
Remember, eating out healthy at restaurants doesn’t mean you can’t eat something “unhealthy” every once in a while. We don’t mean a bag of chips and a can of fizz – we mean a meal that might be a bit higher in calories than you are looking for, but that is still mostly meat and veg, or just a piece of cake.
Try your best to make a conscious decision about your meal and actually think about it. Don’t just jump for the first thing you like without giving it some measured thought.
2. Know Your Healthy Eating Plan
Before you head out to a restaurant, consider the foods you are supposed to be eating. If you are following a low carb meal plan, do your best to replicate the meal you would likely have at home with something that’s on the menu.
If you need a particular protein intake for the week, consider a high-protein meal when dining out.
Understanding what you are supposed to be eating can help you match the restaurant’s offer with your own meal plan and really simplify the decision-making.
3. Ask Questions
Eating out healthy at restaurants may require a little small-talk. Don’t be afraid to ask your server anything that comes to mind – especially about the oil, butter, and salt that goes into a dish. You can ask the chef to prepare your meal with less or no oil, or simply go for something else.
You might feel a bit uncomfortable asking all of these questions at first, and like you’re being a bit of a nuisance. However, as long as you ask politely and remain friendly, and you don’t come off as if you were demanding or attacking someone, the staff should be happy to oblige.
4. Go for the Fish
If you are not sure about what to have, choosing any fish option (as long as it is not fried) will usually be the safest option, provided that you’re not allergic. You can go for seafood of any kind, as long as it does not come with a side of something extremely unhealthy (and it usually doesn’t). Just make sure to check how fresh the fish is before you order.
5. Drink Only Water
This might not be your favorite tip for eating out healthy. While you may be tempted to go for something more “exciting,” water will be your best ally. You don’t have to guzzle down a glass before you begin to eat in order to feel more full – you just don’t need to be adding more calories to the meal by drinking a sugary cocktail.
Water will keep you hydrated and satiate your thirst, and it also won’t impact the taste of your lovely meal.
6. Ask Them to Box It
We all know restaurants can pack up what you don’t eat for you to take home. However, you can ask them to do this before the meal arrives, as opposed to packing up whatever is left on your plate.
That way, you will be served a smaller portion, but you’ll have the rest of it to look forward to when you get home. This will make overeating less likely – and we all know we tend to eat more when we are out with friends.
To Sum It up
You don’t have to stay clear of restaurants if you’re looking to eat healthier food. Eating healthy at restaurants is more than possible. After all, there are plenty of joints that serve just that: meals that are good for you. But even if you go out to a “regular” restaurant, you can find a dish on the menu that will suit your meal plan. You just need to devote some time and thought to it.