Tips for Eating Out
Eating out is a great way to meet up with friends, socialize, get out of the house and spend quality time with loved ones. Eating out shouldn’t be stressful when you’re trying to make healthy and mindful choices. Review these tips before your next meal out and feel better about the decisions you make.
1. Read the menu before you go: If you haven’t been to the restaurant before, familiarize yourself with the menu. Choose what you are going to have before you arrive so you won’t feel influenced by what other people are ordering or rushed when the waiter comes to take your order.
2. Have a healthy snack before you arrive: Before you leave the house for dinner, make yourself a healthy snack. There may be a wait at the restaurant or a delay in ordering food, in which case you may get hungrier and end up eating too much.
3. Drink water before and during your meal: Drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages saves a significant number of calories. Free refills can be the enemy of your night out. Research has also found that people who drink a couple of glasses of water before dinner eat fewer calories.
4. Ask how food is prepared and cooked: Don’t be embarrassed to ask your server how an item on the menu is cooked. Ask if you can have fried items grilled or pan fried items roasted or boiled. Foods described as pan fried, fried, crispy or crunchy tend to have higher fat and calorie content.
5. Order two appetizers instead of a main or share with someone else: Portion sizes at some restaurants can be two or three times a normal serving size. You can either order the full-size meal and immediately separate it into two plates before eating or you can order two appetizers that make up a well-balanced and portion-controlled meal.
6. Order a soup or salad to start and skip the bread: Starting with a soup or salad before your meal can reduce how much of your meal you eat and foregoing bread lowers the number of calories consumed.
7. Ask for sauces or dressing on the side: Some restaurants have a heavy pour when it comes to sauces and dressings. By asking for these on the side, you can control how much, if any, you use during your meal.
8. Slow down and chew thoroughly: Putting your utensil down between bites is an excellent way to slow down your meal. Really take your time and chew your food thoroughly. Appreciate each bite and savor the tastes.
Bottom Line: Eating out and eating healthy is possible. Remind yourself of these tips before your next meal out and share them with friends and family.
Written by: Kayla Arouchon, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern