Going out to a restaurant can be a complete nightmare to your diet. It usually involves a meal that is way too high in calories, full of unhealthy fats, and crazy high in sodium. Often times, you think you are making a healthy choice opting for a salad or something else sounding “healthy” & it ends up being just as bad or worse than the burger you might have had. And I guess you can’t ALWAYS be eating Lean Kitchen meals ;).
If you want to keep on the right track, you need to make a major effort to eat healthy when eating out. It’s too easy to indulge in your usual meal or “write this one off as a cheat meal”, but you have to get serious!
Here are 9 tips to eat healthy when eating out:
1) Choose a Healthy Place
Pick a place to eat that you know you will be able to have options that are fresh & cleaner eating. In other words, avoid buffets at all costs. I would love to see a study on how many more calories are consumed on average, in an all-you-can-eat setting. I’m sure it’s an insane number.
2) Avoid Appetizers
First off, usually appetizers aren’t healthy at all; often including things like mozzarella sticks, cheese fries, onion rings, etc… Second, they will cause you to overeat. You will indulge in this dish & then move onto your meal, and have way overdone it. So just ignore the appetizer menu. [This includes skipping chips & salsa. Those chips add up in calories/carbs scary fast]
3) “What can I get you to drink?”
This is probably the first thing you will get asked. Don’t start this outing off bad by ordering soda or alcohol. Water is the best choice & free. If you need something with flavor, go for unsweetened tea. Or even ask for a cup of lemons with your water and make hobo lemonade, but do not order soda.
4) House Salad
If the meal you choose comes with a soup or salad option, a salad before your dinner is a smart choice! It will fill you up a little before your meal gets to you and usually the house salads aren’t topped with nutritional garbage like the salad entrees are. [Have a vinaigrette dressing or something low fat. Dressings can get you!]
5) Look up Nutritional Info
If you go to the website of whatever restaurant you’re at, you can almost always find the nutritional values to every meal. Look this up before ordering & it’ll be hard to go wrong!
6) Healthy Sides
No matter what you order, if it comes with sides, substitute the sides for veggies: Two sides of steamed veggies, or broccoli, etc… This will cut out a lot of carbs & calories.
7) Box up Half
If you’re really trying to drop the pounds, ask for half of your meal to be put in a to-go box before it gets to you. This will prevent you from over eating and you’ll have a tasty lunch for the next day. You can also just order the ‘lunch portion’ of what you are ordering if they offer that.
8) Ask the Waiter/Waitress
Don’t be afraid to ask the waiter/waitress for a healthy alternative or a special request on how to prepare something [Ex: Grilled instead of fried chicken]
9) Skip Dessert
I think this is a no brainer…
By following these 9 tips, you will see that contrary to popular belief, you can eat healthy when eating out. Don’t let dates or social outings at restaurants hold you back from your fitness goals; just be smart about it!
Thanks for reading!