Making Healthier Choices When Dining Out

diningIt is very obvious that we are a society of convenience and many of us have developed the habit of eating out on a regular basis.  Whether it is grabbing lunch at the nearest fast food joint or taking the family out to eat after a long day of work, we eat out a lot.  It may not be realistic to think you can completely avoid dining out all together, but I do recommend minimizing the number of times you eat out during the week.  Since it is unrealistic to think you will completely do a 180 with dining out, I would like to provide you with a few tips to doing it in a healthier manner.

– Avoid fried food. Order baked, broiled, or grilled items, in doing so you will cut calories and help protect you from disease.

Choose fresh over fried. Pick a lettuce side salad or fruit over French fries.

– Ask your server questions. Ordering veggies is highly recommended, but it can be tricky because restaurants like to cook in a lot of butter.  Ask the server what the vegetables are cooked in and how they are prepared (see if you can get them grilled or steamed).

– Pass on the sauces and gravies. These are easy ways to add some serious calories to your meal.

– Choose oil-based salad dressing versus the creamy dressings. Oil-based salad dressings are typically lower in calories and fat, but make sure you order the dressing on the side.  Restaurants typically like to drown their salads in dressing, which provides you with a ton of empty calories.

– Pass on dessert. The temporary satisfaction is not worth the calorie impact later.  Know yourself, if you can order dessert and only eat one bite then ordering it every once in a while won’t kill you.  However, if you devour the entire thing without putting your utensil down, then pass on dessert.

– Order water instead of soda. Water, as we all know, is calorie-free, unlike soda.  Adding fresh fruit slices (lemons, limes, oranges) to your water provides you with a refreshing taste when plain water doesn’t sound that appealing.

– Practice moderation. If you’re of age, order only one alcoholic beverage with your meal.  Ideally you would choose water, but if you want a drink it’s OK to have one… just try to keep it at one.

– Keep portion size in mind. Rarely do restaurants give the correct portion size, more times then not the portion you are being served is double or triple the amount you should be taking in.  Split your meal with your significant other, family member, or friend.  This will help your waistline and wallet.  Boxing half of your meal in advance is also a good way of to prevent over eating.

Keep in mind, unless you are preparing your food you have no idea the exact amount of calories you are taking in.  I suggest eating at home and preparing your own meals as often as you can.  That way you can save money, know the exact amount of calories are in your meal, and if you are dining with others, will help you spend some quality time with your family or friends.

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