08 Sep How to Make Healthy Choices When Eating at Restaurants
Dining Out, Eating Smart: How to Make Healthy Choices at Restaurants
Eating at restaurants can be a delightful experience, but it often comes with tempting, calorie-laden dishes. Making healthy choices while dining out doesn’t have to be a challenge. With some mindful strategies, you can enjoy restaurant meals without compromising your health and nutrition.
Check the Menu Ahead of Time:
Many restaurants now provide their menus online. Take advantage of this by reviewing the menu before you go. Look for healthier options and plan your order in advance.
Start with Water:
Begin your meal with a glass of water. Not only does this help with hydration, but it can also curb your appetite, preventing you from overindulging.
Opt for dishes that include lean proteins, such as grilled chicken or fish, and plenty of vegetables. Avoid fried, breaded, or creamy items.
Ask for Modifications:
Don’t hesitate to request modifications to your dish. Ask for dressing on the side, substitute fries with a side salad, or choose steamed instead of fried options.
Restaurant portions are often larger than necessary. Share an entree with a dining partner or ask for a to-go container right away to pack up half your meal.
Be Cautious with Beverages:
Limit sugary beverages, alcoholic drinks, and excessive amounts of soda. Opt for water, herbal tea, or unsweetened iced tea instead.
Mind Your Sauces:
Sauces and dressings can be calorie-heavy. Request them on the side so you can control how much you use.
Eat slowly and savor each bite. Put your fork down between bites, and engage in conversation to prevent mindless eating.
Avoid “All You Can Eat” Buffets:
While buffets offer variety, they can also encourage overeating. Stick to restaurants with portioned meals.
Don’t Skip Dessert Entirely:
If you’re craving something sweet, consider sharing a dessert with your dining companions. This way, you can enjoy a treat without overindulging.
Eating out can be an enjoyable and social experience. By making thoughtful choices and being mindful of what you order, you can savor restaurant meals while maintaining your health and nutrition goals. Remember that it’s about balance, and occasional indulgence is perfectly fine. Bon appétit!
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- – Larson, N., et al. (2016). Trends in Restaurant Menu Label Use Among U.S. Adults, 2007–2010. Preventing Chronic Disease, 13, E52. doi:10.5888/pcd13.150424.
- – Anzman-Frasca, S., et al. (2015). Healthier Children’s Meals in Restaurants: An Exploratory Study to Inform Approaches That Are Acceptable Across Stakeholders. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 47(1), 67-76.