For many dieters, making the right food choices when dining out can seem like a nearly impossible challenge. Fortunately, many restaurants these days are becoming more accommodating to health conscious people. Some restaurants even have a separate section on their menu that lists their healthy dish options or substitutes. Even if you dine at a restaurant that doesn’t have all the healthy options laid out for you, you can still indulge without increasing your bulge with the following tips for dining out.
Tips for dining out
- Avoid fried foods or ask if you can have them prepared differently
- Look for foods that are baked, grilled, poached, or steamed
- Ask for your water with lemon for added health benefit
- Examine the sides, they are just as important as the main course. If it comes with veggies, ask for them steamed not sauteed
- Try to avoid sauces loaded with cream since these will also be high in fat
- Ask for your sauce and dressings on the side and save yourself the extra calories
- If possible, order a half portion when the option is given on the menu or consider sharing or taking half of the meal home
- If you must have fries, ask for them unsalted to save yourself from consuming too much sodium
- If a dish is using soy sauce, ask if they have low-sodium soy sauce instead
- Ask for light seasoning or easy salt
- Pass the bread, and keep on passing it. White breads can cause high insulin spikes and increase fat storage. Butter added to breads can only make it worse
- If you are ordering milk or coffee with cream, ask if they have reduced fat (1% reduced fat milk ideally) or non-fat milk, many places do.
- Ask for brown rice instead of white if they have it
- When ordering dessert, consider healthy fruit or sorbet instead of a giant piece of chocolate cake
- Many dining establishments now list nutritional information about their menu items either on the menu itself, or on a nutritional guide kept somewhere in the facility for guests. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they carry one, but be aware that not every establishment does.
Dining out can still be great and rewarding, even for dieters. Once you know what to look for and how to order, you can dine out with confidence.