Hello divas! I hope that your week has gotten off to a fantastic start. As always, my Monday was a bit busy but I am looking forward to what this week will bring and even more so for weekend. So how have your resolutions and goals gone so far this year? As you know, one of mine has been to continue to eat clean and healthy this year and most of that comes from planning my meals and cooking at home. While I love cooking, I will also be the first to tell you I love it when I don’t have to be home to cook and can spend time with family and friends away from home. But let’s be real for a moment – eating out can sometimes make it difficult to also eat healthy. So today I am sharing 12 handy tips to eat healthy while eating out.
Make the menu work for you. Find your staples on the menu and ask if meal can be adjusted. It’s okay if you are a little annoying – you are the customer after all. I always try to get a side salad or veggies with my main dish, even if it costs a little more.
Veggies instead of starches. Speaking of side dishes, try to opt for veggies and fruit instead of the typical starchy sides. I love potatoes and fries (or even fried veggies for that matter), but if I am trying to eat smarter, I try to forgo them when possible.
Eat local. I also try to eat local instead of at chain restaurants when I can. Not only does it add a bit of local flavor to your meal, but many times they will feature locally grown/prepared/brewed/baked goods. You can get healthy meals and support the local economy.
Check the menu before you go. With technology as it is, almost all restaurants will have a website and feature their menu on it. I always try check out the menu before I arrive so I at least know what to expect.
Skip the bread and oil. Many restaurants will bring bread, biscuits, cornbread etc. to the table as part of the meal. I love bread as much as the next person, but I try to limit or not eat it if I can simply because I don’t usually need the empty carbs.
Drink smart. Don’t drink alcohol before you eat. This will just make you feel hungrier as the meal progresses. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water. Water both helps you feel fuller and helps you absorb your food better.
Choose the right dressing. I always avoid the creamier salad dressings because they are typically higher in calories and fat (though I do have a bit of a soft spot for honey mustard dressing). I try to get the oil-type dressings such as a vinaigrette when possible. A lot of times these are made with healthy oils such as olive anyway. Also, ask for the dressing on the side so you can control your portions better.
Choose the right main dish. Choose roasted, broiled, baked, steamed, grilled or sautéed over fried, creamy, breaded. This will save calories, fat and save more of the natural flavors of the food for you to enjoy. While you don’t have to give up your steak, you can also opt for leaner proteins for healthier options.
Plan for cheats. When I know I will be going out to eat, I usually plan my week around it. I know that I can’t be completely healthy when away from home all the time, so these meals tend to be my “cheats” for the week.
Avoid appetizers and share desserts. Avoid the appetizers unless you are going to make them your meal. This will only increase your odds of overeating. Don’t give up your dessert though. I have a sweet tooth so I always look forward to a yummy dessert when I go out. Just share it with others so that you get both the deliciousness of a sweet treat without overindulging too much.
Remember portions. Keep in mind that many of the meals at restaurants are the equivalent to 2-3 servings. YOU DON’T HAVE TO EAT EVERYTHING ON YOUR PLATE. Box some of it up and save for a later date (or lunch the following day).
Don’t eat too fast. Lastly, don’t feel like you have to finish your meal quickly. We always seem to be in a hurry and eating out shouldn’t have to be one of those times. You will feel full longer and be able enjoy meal and the company you are with.
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