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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.