Learning how to eat out is a significant challenge to healthy eating, which one must overcome to continue a healthy lifestyle. Life will continue and, at times, will necessitate having to eat outside the home, especially if you travel often or have an active social life that requires meeting out for meals. While eating at a restaurant can require careful planning, there are several useful tips to keep in mind to ensure your continued success.
If a large portion is served, consider sharing it with a friend who is with you. You can also ask for a to-go box when the food is served and box half of the food to eat later.
If possible, be the one to pick the restaurant so you can be certain to have food choices to fit your lifestyle needs.
If you were not able to pick the restaurant, review their menu online. If there are limited choices for you to choose from, eat before you go and enjoy a side salad with your group.
Ask the server not to leave the bread or chips on the table as these are subject to mindless eating. It is easy to consume too many of these and not be able to eat the more nutritious main course.
While it is enjoyable to have a drink with friends, be cautious of the extra calories from sugar in these drinks. If you choose to drink, limit your consumption, otherwise choose water with a citrus slice.
When ordering at the restaurant, ask for special menus which may be available, such as vegetarian or gluten-free. Healthier items may also be labeled within the menu. If no item suits you, request substitutes. Consider grilled proteins and steamed vegetables.
Salads may be a good menu choice, but beware of the dressings which may contain unwanted ingredients, including sugar. Consider using no dressing, oil and vinegar dressing, or bringing your own salad dressing with you to the restaurant. Also consider using the salsa on the table as a dressing or asking for the salad to be topped with an avocado which makes a wonderful healthy salad dressing option.
Do not be afraid to ask your server questions about menu items. If you are wondering where the salmon is from, kindly ask the waiter to ask the chef.
The dessert menu may be another challenge to your healthy lifestyle. In general all high-sugar desserts should be avoided. Consider asking the server for a cup of fresh berries.
To avoid most of these challenges, offer to meet your companions after dinner, or offer to host the dinner party to ensure that you have healthy options to choose from.