Tips for Healthy Eating Out: Part 3–Lunch and Dinner
Just because you’re going out to a restaurant for lunch or dinner doesn’t give you carte blanche with regard to the menu. Well… of course you CAN throw all caution to the wind, but you’ll be throwing your goals out the window in the process. I KNOW you don’t want to do that! So, here are my top tips for going out to eat for lunch or dinner and still keeping it healthy:
Tip #1: Offer suggestions for the restaurant
This is kind of a no-brainer. I know the restaurants that I like to frequent because they offer healthier options than the typical greasy spoon destination. If your meal companions are open to suggestions, SPEAK UP!
Tip #2: Pass on the buffet
Buffets can be a danger zone for many of us. If you’re the type who just can’t pass up yummy looking food, then you need to pass on going to buffets. Oftentimes, you don’t even know what you’re eating or how the dish was prepared because it’s just set out for you. If you find yourself stuck at an all-you-can-eat place, start by loading up with a big green salad and veggies. Then peruse all the other offerings and decide from there what you are going to enjoy. Note: You do not have to eat everything in sight! Pick one or two indulgences if you really want them and allow yourself a small serving.
Tip #3: Order a big salad as your entrée
Make sure to ask for the dressing on the side or ask for olive oil and vinegar or fresh lemon wedges. Watch for candied nuts, tortilla strips/chips, an overload of cheese, etc. Remember to customize your order!
Tip #4: Order a bunch of appetizers or sides
Instead of an entrée, order appetizers or side dishes. This is built-in portion control right there! Just make sure you’re ordering the healthier options. Some good ones are beans, a small cup of vegetable soup, a green side salad, a baked sweet potato.
Tip #5: Ask for double the side of veggies
Pass on the rice, pasta, or fries and ask for double the veggies. I’m not talking fried zucchini here, people! Steamed or roasted veggies are the way to go.
TIP #6: Ditch the bread or chip basket
Ask the server to remove the bread/chip basket from the table. Alternatively, if other in your group want to have the bread or chips, move the basket away from your reach. You don’t need the extra temptation staring you right in the face!
Tip #7: Pass on the bun
Ask for that burger protein style (aka a lettuce wrap). If you want the bun, ask for a multigrain one. Keep sauces to a minimum. Opt for good ol’ mustard and load up your patty with veggies.
Tip #8: Ask upfront for half of your meal to be wrapped up to go
Most restaurant portions are out of control and can easily feed two people! You can either split and entrée with your companion or have half of it wrapped up to go before it ever makes it to the table. If it’s not in front of you, you can’t eat it!
Tip #9: Dessert
If you want to indulge and have dessert (which, of course, you planned for right?), split it with a friend or several friends.
Tip #10: Pass on the adult beverages and sweetened drinks
These are simply EMPTY calories! The alcohol and sugar often leads to overeating, too, which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid. Enjoy water with lemon throughout your meal.
Tip #11: ENJOY Your Meal and the Company as you FUEL UP for a FIT LIFE!