Eating out can be convenient, but it can also thwart your diet attempts. Read the following tips to help you filter restaurant menus and stick to your health goals.
Know Your Weak Spots
Each person has their weaknesses when it comes to food. Before picking a restaurant, be aware of your own food weaknesses. If you struggle with portion control, don’t go to a buffet style restaurant. If desserts are your downfall, don’t go to a restaurant where the specialty is cheesecake and/or other high-calorie desserts.
Many restaurants have online menus that you can view when determining where to eat. Try to pick only restaurants that have healthy options on their menus (i.e. salads, soups, non-fried foods, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables). Also, look for menus that have a “low calorie” section.
Healthy Loves Company
When possible, try to eat out with like-minded friends. Some researchers say that you tend to eat less if you are eating with those with the same health goals as you.
Menus usually offer two portion sizes: half (or small) and full (or regular). Try opting for smaller portions of food rather than large platters. The smaller the plate, the smaller amount of calories you will consume. If there are no options, simply ask for a to-go box right as the food comes, and split your meal in half! 2 meals in one: win-win.
Though salads are generally healthier options, they can sneak more calories into your diet than you think. Avoid unecessary calories by skipping the full-fat dressings (especially cream-based dressings like ranch or blue cheese). Also, avoid salads that are smothered in dressing. Try to order the dressing on the side, so you can use only some of the portion they provide. Another idea is to carry pouches of salad dressing with you when going out to eat. Check out the HealthSmart salad dressings at Nashua Nutrition.
Try to avoid high-sugar drinks on the menu like sweet tea, soda and sugared lemonades. The best drink option is water or club soda.
Try to avoid desserts altogether if you are dieting. If you have to splurge, however, try to choose a dessert from the low-calorie section of the dessert menu. Another idea is to have a healthy dessert back at home waiting for you. Try Chef Jay’s – Tri-O-Plex Cookies.