Dining out is pretty awesome, let’s be real. But if you are trying to improve your eating habits, it can be difficult to stay the course when treating yourself to a night without cooking. Between the drinks, serving sizes, and mystery ingredients, it can be easy to rack up the calories (and confusion) when placing your order. Here are 5 simple ways to ensure you are getting the most out of your meal.
1. Scope out the restaurant beforehand.
I get it, sometimes spur of the moment meals are great, but if you are planning a date night or a trip to a new restaurant with your friends try and scope out their menu before you arrive. If they are known for their burgers and pizza, it might be difficult to find a healthy alternative on their menu. Have you ever been guilty of impulse ordering? If you see a waiter holding a juicy cheeseburger passing you by it might encourage you to impulse order, but by reading menu’s before you get to the restaurant it allows you to truly consider what you are in the mood for beforehand.
2. Ask about the specials.
The specials at restaurants are often more seasonally based, which means the ingredients are likely to be fresh and healthy. Plus they are often at a special price! Can’t hurt, can it?
3. You don’t need the salad.
Eating healthy while eating out does not mean you need to eat a salad! There are so many ways to tweak menus and get in a healthy meal, so don’t eliminate things off of the menu right away. Look for lean proteins like chicken or fish, and ask to substitute starchy sides with fresh veggies. Craving that burger your saw earlier? Ask if they can put it on a lettuce bun (or go bun-less!).
4. Use your waiter to your advantage.
Your waiter is your lei son to the chef, so don’t be afraid to ask him or her questions! Ask if you can swap out the salad dressing for a simple olive oil and vinegar mix. Ask if you can replace the side of fries for a small salad, ask if you can get the vegetables plain instead of drenched in butter. Always be polite and respectful, of course, but don’t be afraid to make simple substitutions!
5. Skip the dairy, gluten, and sugar.
Dairy and gluten are inflammatory agents, so if possible avoid anything that is fried, breaded, or covered in cheese. Again, this is where you can ask for your chicken grilled instead of breaded, or for the cheese on the side. The most common place you will find sugar in your meals is in your drinks and desserts, so if you are drinking try to stick to vodka soda’s or wines as opposed to those fruity cocktails. If you do choose to enjoy an item on the dessert menu, offer to split it with someone! You can always treat yourself, but the serving sizes are often exaggerated when dining out, do don’t be afraid to split or wrap things up to take home either!
Do you have any tips and tricks to eating healthy when out to eat? Share them below!