Enjoy a Meal Out with Less Guilt About Your Diet!

Eating more home-cooked, fresh meals is recommended to improve your nutrition and overall health. When we eat at home we have control over our ingredients and often eat more balanced meals with smaller portions. However, you can still enjoy a meal out while focusing on your diet.

  1. Be prepared. You can often find menus and nutrition information online beforehand which can help you make a plan of what to order and how that fits into your daily plan.
  2. Speak up. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about ingredients, preparation methods, or substitutions. The more we all do this, the more restaurants understand that their customers are looking for healthy options, which could lead to menu changes down the road. Restaurants want you to be happy with their service and dishes so that you return and tell your friends.
  3. Look for clues. Many menus have “healthy” designations or symbols that help you determine which dishes may be lower in calorie, sodium, or fat. Other words to look for include light, fresh, fit, vegetarian, skinny, baked, grilled, etc.
  4. Add color. The more color on your plate, usually the more nutritious your foods. Substitute a side dish with fruits, vegetables, or salads. Escape the blah looking plate with a colorful plate that is more appealing and satisfying.
  5. Resist the freebies. Who doesn’t love the bread basket or chips and salsa? But remember, all the extra calories, fat, and sodium add up. Your best bet is to request for them to not even bring the basket to the table and save your appetite for your meal.
  6. Take the wheel. Ask for butter, cheese, toppings, salad dressings, sauces, gravies to be served on the side so you can be in control of how much of these items are added to your food. These are items that add up extremely fast and you’ll find that oftentimes the food still taste great with much less.
  7. Go halfsies. Sharing an entrée, appetizer, or dessert still allows you to get foods you enjoy but keeping the portion just right. Don’t be afraid to ask for a children’s meal either, often times you get smaller portions, a lower price, and at many restaurants your drink is free with a children’s meal.