Eating out and staying healthy can be challenging, but it is not an impossible goal. Basic rules can help you think about what to choose when you’re out.
Rules for healthy dining out
- Talk to your dinner companions about where you’ll be eating. Most restaurants post their menu online, which gives you a chance to preview their healthier options.
- Eat within your usual meal times, whenever possible.
- Limit fat and salt.
- Keep your portions in mind. Most restaurant meals are double, or even triple, what you should be eating.
- Follow the diet plan your doctor or dietician has given you. Make the commitment to stay on track.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or make special requests.
- Know your compensation strategies. For example, you may limit calories or certain types of foods to make room for dessert.
- Split your meal in half, and put half in a box to take home. Consider sharing an entree with the person you’re out with.
- Ask for substitutions. For example, ask for a salad or non-starchy vegetables to replace the potatoes or fries. Or ask for salsa or plain yogurt for your potato instead of sour cream and butter.
- Look for the words “broiled,” “roasted,” and “grilled.” These will generally be lower in fat and calories than those that are “breaded,” “fried,” or “smothered.” If you do get fried, take off the breading to reduce the number of calories and fat.
- Ask for sauces and dressings on the side. Having these on the side will allow you to control how much goes on your food. A good trick is to dip your fork in the sauce or dressing, then take a bite of food. The flavor is there without as many calories.
- Watch for hidden sugar. Choose low-sugar drinks. Avoid fruits in heavy syrup. Added sugar can be in things you least expect-like salad dressing and sauces.
- Count your carbs.
- If you’re out for pizza, order thin crust, and choose vegetables as a topping. Have a salad on the side to help you feel full so you eat fewer slices.
- Avoid buffets, as they encourage overeating.
- Take a walk after your meal. A walk after a meal is a great way to burn off any excess calories you ate, and exercise helps lower your blood sugar .
The information contained herein is provided for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. You should consult your physician or healthcare provider before taking any new medication or supplement, undertaking any exercise program or diet regimen, or adhering to any of the health and wellness information or recommendations contained herein.