Healthy tips for dining out
Oct 15, 2013 / 5:00 am
Whether you are grabbing a quick lunch on the run or meeting friends for dinner, navigating any menu for healthy options can be challenging. Here are some simple tips to still enjoy a meal out at your favourite local hot spot.
1. Remember the basics - Just because you’re eating a meal somewhere other than your house it does not mean healthy eating gets put on the back burner. So just as you would at home, you want your meal to consist of mostly veggies, some whole grains and a protein.
2. Make substitutions - This is an easy one. Swap those fries for some steamed veggies or a side salad. Avoid unhealthy trans fats. Those fries might look and smell good, but your heart and hips will thank you later. If your meal comes with a basket of bread, don’t let it sit there! It always manages to disappear by the time the meal comes. A way around this is, after it's gone around the table once have the server take the remainder of it away.
3. Avoid drinking your calories - There are so many fancy cocktails to choose from, but those beverages can pack a calorie punch. You can easily drink up to 300 calories before you’ve even started to eat anything. Water is the best choice to have. Restaurant meals are notoriously high in sodium, so water will also help in decreasing that post meal bulge. If you just have to bring the week to an end with a drink that has an umbrella, save it for after your meal and make it your dessert.
4. Dressing/Sauce on the side - Restaurants are great at turning something healthy like a salad into a sauce-drenched calorie explosion. A standard serving of dressing should be around 1-2 tablespoons, but you’ll get far more than that if you go out to eat. Even a small amount of dressing can pack a calorie count of anywhere from 100-200+ calories. Not to mention dressings can be loaded with saturated fat, salt and sugar. Be in charge of your own salad and get that dressing on the side. Don’t put it all on. That’s a small win for you.
5. Pack it up - Portion sizes are usually more than enough for one person! A simple way you can avoid trusting your willpower is by asking the server to bring you a to-go box and pack half before you even get started. It may seem like a silly thing to do at first but it is such a great simple way to monitor your portion size. It’s also easier on your wallet.
And remember, healthy eating is all about balance and enjoying your food! So if you happened to overindulge, just be mindful of healthier choices the next day (or two).
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