Restaurant food is meant to look, smell and taste great, and that means nutrition can sometimes fall by the wayside when menus feature main dishes drenched in butter or rich sauces, salads with creamy dressings and few whole grains, fruits and vegetables. This can spell disaster for your waistline by drastically increasing the amount of calories and fats you consume in a day then what is required. Don’t let enjoying a lunch or dinner out at a restaurant ruin your healthy eating goals.
Try these easy tips and see how eating healthy in a restaurant is possible and delicious!
- Cut back on calories during other meals during the day.
- Check online menu, if available, for nutrition information before you leave home and order foods that are low in calories.
- If you're already hungry before you leave for the restaurant, have a small snack such as a piece of fruit.
- Go for the A’ La carte menu rather than a buffet.
- If you dine at a place with only buffet available then choose healthy options, fill half your plate with a vegetable and fruit salad.
- Order a salad before ordering anything else on the menu. Select salads with low fat dressing or ask for dressing on the side.
- Choose clear soups instead of cream soups (unless the sauce is low fat).
- Look for foods that are steamed, broiled, baked or grilled and limit fried and sautéed items or foods described as "crispy," or "rich".
- Balance your meal by including healthier selections from all the different food groups such as lean meats, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Go for whole grains like brown rice, brown pasta, whole wheat roti or whole wheat bread preparations.
- Round out your meal by ordering healthy side dishes that are low in fat and salt.
- Eat a smaller portion. Give yourself time to digest and serve yourself more food if you are still hungry.
- Drink water or sparkling water with lemon or lime wedges instead of sweetened drinks such as soda pop, ice tea or lemonade.
- Finish off your meal with a fruity dessert or coffee, if you wish.