We can all agree, navigating the restaurant menu can be challenging when you’re trying to eat for health. Selections are tough to make when everything on the menu seems off limits. Eating out healthfully should have no restrictions, am I right? That’s why keeping these 5 tips top of mind the next time you dine out will not only make your restaurant experience stress-free and tasty but will most importantly make it healthy-- exactly what it should be!
- Veggie Centric: As a guiding tool, half of what you eat in any meal should come from fruits and/or vegetables. If that burger is calling your name, top it with as many vegetables as you would like, skip the fries and add a side salad instead. This allows you to balance that juicy burger with nutrient dense ingredients.
- Shareable Plates: a trend that continues to evolve from restaurant to restaurant, shareable plates keep portions right in check. Restaurants are certainly using this as a way to redefine family style and many are using it as a way to eat a little bit of everything—nothing wrong with that! This not only creates an enjoyable dining experience for you, but it cuts down the total calories too. If shareable plates are not offered on the menu, sharing a meal with a friend can certainly serve the same purpose.
- Customizable: working with the waiter/waitress to fully understand how certain items are prepared is important in your selection process since most items are often cooked to order. If you are wanting to cut calories, asking the chef to prepare your side of veggies with little oil can ultimately save you a couple hundred calories. Or leaving the salt off can save you a couple hundred milligrams of sodium. That’s certainly worth discussing! The same principle applies to beverages as you may be able to cut additional calories by leaving out the sweetened syrups and unwanted empty calories.
- Calories—some restaurants openly list the calories of each meal on their menu and is always a great tool for guidance. Looking at some meals right off the bat, you may think would be lower in calories but because of the additional sauce, oil, etc, the calories are elevated. If the calories are not listed on the menu, ask your waiter/waitress if they have the information tucked away.
- Eat Intuitively: the most important of them all, intuitive eating. Restaurants are notorious for cooking larger than life portions and restaurant goers are known for always over eating. Eating slowly and stopping when you are full will allow you time to enjoy the foods you want, without the extra guilt associated with over consumption. Making this habitual will help you achieve a happier you who sees that all foods fit and can be worked into a healthy lifestyle. That’s truly the ultimate goal!
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.