Who doesn’t enjoy dining out? You get to eat delicious food and hang out with friends or family, and you don’t need to worry about cooking or washing the dishes afterward. However, it can be tricky to find healthy options when you’re eating at a restaurant, where the food is often designed to look, smell, and taste excellent – without much regard for nutrition. If you aren’t dining at a restaurant that conveniently lists nutritional information on the menu, use the following tips for eating healthy when dining out.
Tips for Eating Healthy When Dining Out
Plan the day’s meals and exercise around dining out.
If you know that you’re going to eat out, choose your meals and snacks that day based on that fact. For example, if you know you’re eating out for dinner, have a light lunch. Or if you go out for brunch, choose a healthy dinner. It can also be helpful to eat a small healthy snack before eating out so that you don’t arrive starving and then immediately devour your entire plate. Eat a piece of fruit or some baby carrots before heading to the restaurant.
In addition, plan to exercise on the same day so that you can burn off some of those extra calories. If the people you’re dining with are up for it, you could even plan an activity with them beforehand – like a long walk in the park or a dance class.
Drink a low-calorie beverage.
The best option is obviously water, and you can add a slice of lemon if you want to add a little flavor. Another great option is unsweetened tea, which also goes well with a slice of lemon. If you’re looking for a warm drink, you could try hot tea or black coffee. Avoid sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages.
Choose a meal filled with veggies, protein, and whole grains if possible.
Although the fatty burgers or carb-heavy pastas may tempt you, do your best to order a nutritious meal that incorporates vegetables, protein, and whole grains. Remember that even things that appear healthy may not be. For example, a salad isn’t necessarily “healthy” if it incorporates fried chicken, oily croutons, and a heavy dressing. Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter for recommendations. In addition, remember that you can often customize your meal and swap out unhealthy ingredients. For example, most restaurants allow you to swap french fries for veggies.
Aim to eat a healthy portion of your plate.
It isn’t uncommon for restaurants to serve enormous portions – sometimes even two to three times larger than a healthy meal. So when you receive your meal, try to visualize what amount would fit on a typical dinner plate and only eat that amount. Some people find it helpful to immediately split their plate in two and put half in a takeaway box.
Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to understand that your stomach is no longer hungry? If you eat too fast, you’ll likely eat too much. So when you eat out, commit to eating slowly. Focus on the conversation and the experience, and savor each bite of your food.
Especially if you dine out often, it’s important to remember that eating at a restaurant isn’t an excuse to ditch your diet. You can find plenty of healthy options if you know what to look for and aren’t afraid to ask your waiter for help. Our tips for eating healthy when dining out will help you get started on the right path.
Are you looking for a community that provides a positive, healthy atmosphere where you can live out your golden years? The Shores of Lake Phalen is an assisted living community in a quiet, peaceful environment in Maplewood, Minnesota. Surrounded by a gorgeous wooded setting between two lakes, our residence offers the accessibility of apartment-style housing with the atmosphere and elegance of a resort. Thanks to our team of dedicated staff members, residents enjoy a carefree lifestyle, without the common worries of running a household. We offer numerous health and safety amenities, fun events and activities, a friendly and accommodating staff, and so much more. Schedule a tour of the community to explore our spacious apartments, elegant dining room, and more. We look forward to hearing from you!