5 Tips for Eating Healthy at Restaurants
Ways to eat healthier while dining out
It’s not impossible to eat healthy when you go out, but it is a great deal harder than stopping at your favorite burger joint and ordering a No. 5 with extra mayo. Eating healthy at a restaurant requires some dedication. You have to be willing to spend a little time figuring out the healthiest options. You also have to be okay with possibly annoying your server with your special requests. And let’s be honest; you have to accept that the people around you are probably going to be eating chili cheese fries and towers of onion rings. While it’s certainly okay to cheat every once in a while, if you’re someone who goes out often, you don’t want to end up having to justify cheat meals all the time. Instead, use these tips to have a healthy restaurant dining experience:
1. Start with water. It can be tempting when the restaurant offers a huge selection of sugary frozen lemonades or syrupy martinis, but try to resist the urge. Those drinks are generally extremely high in sugar or sugar substitutes, they don’t actually quench your thirst and they bring your tab up substantially. If you have to have an alcoholic drink, try to go for something basic like a glass of wine or a tequila with club soda. Even then, remember to order a water as well, as alcohol is dehydrating.
2. Don’t look at the pastas. Just don’t do it! There is nothing that you need on the pasta page. It’s just a list of differently-packaged carbs all smothered in more carbs. It’s a big ol’ carb party and you don’t want to join in.
3. Choose something well-balanced. You want to choose your meal based on the criteria with which you would make it at home. Does it have a good amount of protein? Are the sides healthy vegetables? Do you have the option to switch out an unhealthy side for a better one? (Unfortunately, the answer to that last one is usually “Yes, but it’s going to cost you.”) Although he/she might not be thrilled with you, your server is there to answer those questions for you. It’s always worth it to ask.
4. As a general rule, try to avoid restaurant sauces, dressings and condiments. Yes, they’re delicious. But those food accessories you love so much are usually jam-packed with sugar and fat. Try your salad with just oil and vinegar or enjoy the natural goodness of your filet, sans steak sauce. The less you consume those unhealthy things, the more your palate will adjust to not needing them.
5. Find out the ingredients before you decide. I know that sounds annoying, and your server might not be all that happy about it, but it’s worth it. Many restaurants have the nutritional information on hand and will provide it for you if you ask. You don’t necessarily need the full recipe, but it’s helpful to know what’s being put in your food so you can determine whether or not it’s a good choice.