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Eating Healthy When Dining Out – A Complete Guide

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Restaurant food smells and tastes amazing but you can quickly accumulate sugar, salt and fats if you dine out more often, but there are ways of ensuring you’re eating healthy when dining out.

Who doesn’t love eating out? It can be a nice treat once in a while or a convenient option when life is hectic. Amidst working late, hitting the gym, hanging out with friends and more to take care of in a day, finding time to cook can be difficult.

Eating Healthy When Dining Out

It is important to know that there are healthy options available when dining out. Today, it is possible to find healthy foods everywhere.

This guide is aimed to help you make the right choices to eat a healthy meal when you dine out. Here are some tips to stick to healthy eating while enjoying a treat outside. 

Plan Eating Out

Balance 

Balance the calorie intake by eating a light dinner if you had a big lunch. If you know in advance that you are going to eat out, make sure you eat light during the day.

However, don’t starve yourself so much that you eat up junk at the table while waiting for the meal. If you are anyways feeling too hungry, grab a fruit before you go or order a soup or salad to curb the hunger. 

Eat Slow

Commit yourself to eat slowly at the restaurant. Your brain can take up to 20 minutes to get a message from your stomach that it is full.

This is why fast eaters are over-eaters. Those who eat slow are often eating less and are still satiated. 

Exercise

Include physical activity in your dining plan. You just need a pair of comfy shoes to burn the extra calories you accumulate from dining out.

Select a place that is located at a 15-20 minutes walking distance. When you choose to walk, you can get your meal, get physical activity and also avoid any hassle of parking.

If that is not possible, you can choose to go out for a walk with your friends before or after the meal. 

Manage Portions

Keep your Portions Small 

Restaurants and food points generally have bigger portion sizes as compared to what you normally eat.

To avoid taking up a lot of calories, you can consider sharing the dish with a friend, ask for half portions or pack half of the meal and carry home. 

Eating Out Balanced Meal
Balanced Meal While Eating Out

Avoid Super-Sized Meals

Super-sized combo meals may seem to be great at saving money, but they are full of calories, sugars, fats and sodium and should be avoided. 

Divide The Dessert

If you feel like having a dessert, you can add something like a cinnamon-sprinkled cappuccino or a fruit dish. Those who are fond of rich desserts can order one and share with friends. 

Make Healthier Choices

Choose Whole Grains

Replace refined floor options with whole grains like oats, barley, brown rice and quinoa. A number of restaurants today offer whole grain and multigrain pasta, buns, pizza crust and tortilla wraps upon request. This way, you can stay away from bad fats and extra calorie intake while dining out. 

Get More Vegetables

To ensure adequate fibre content in your meal, ask for additional vegetable toppings on pizzas, burgers, wraps and sandwiches. Add healthy ingredients like celery, avocado and broccoli to get proper nutrition.

You can also consider ordering sides like boiled vegetables and green salad. It is also a good idea to substitute fries with salad. 

Take Sauce On The Side

A lot of the dishes come with dressings, spreads, condiments and sauces which add sodium and fat to your meal when you eat out.

You can control their intake by asking these sauces to be served on the side. Then, you can use enough for the flavour. 

Keep A Check On Sodium

Keep A Check On Sodium
Keep A Check on Sodium

When you order food, choose fewer items containing teriyaki or soya sauce. You can ask for lighter versions of these sauces. Also, see that you avoid smoked foods as they contain high sodium. 

Avoid Sweet Beverages

Opt for low-fat milk, yoghurt or water rather than sweetened drinks and beverages. You can replace soda pops with sparkling water containing lemon. You should also limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks per day. 

Healthy-up the Meal

You can certainly ask your provider to help you make the meal healthier for you. They will serve your request if you ask for less oil or cheese. Ask them to serve your salad without dressing or get the appetizer part of the meal.

Some restaurants will also let you order off-menu items. You can ask if the chef can make steamed vegetables or grilled chicken for you. 

Stay Informed

Ask

You can always ask about how a particular meal is prepared. You can order foods that have been boiled, baked, steamed, roasted, grilled or broiled.

Calories and fats easily add up when you consume foods which have been either deep-fried, breaded or fried. 

Research

Visit the restaurant’s website and see their menu ahead of time to find out what healthy options are available. You can also read about the nutrition info for specific dishes you are interested in.

You can decide on healthier options that are rich in nutrients, vitamins, fibre and protein and contain lower sugar, fat, sodium and calorie content. 

Say No

Learn to resist offers and freebies. Appetizers and cocktails can be tempting at restaurants but they can easily add sugar, calories, fats and sodium that you should avoid to stay healthy. You need not accept any complimentary chips, salsa or bread butter. 

Whether you enjoy eating out or have to dine out, it does not mean you can’t stay healthy. It just needs some preparation, care and attention to substitute unhealthy foods with nutritious options. Follow these tips to stay away from fats, calories and sodium that can get into your way to a healthy lifestyle.

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