Smart Food Choices When Dining Out
Eating OutGoing out to eat is a fun, enjoyable experience for most. The main objective when frequenting a restaurant is to keep calories and fat in-check without skimping on taste.
To make the most of your dining experience, follow some of these helpful tips:
An important step in dining out is not to overindulge. This can easily be done if you arrive at the restaurant when famished. Try eating a piece of fresh fruit, low-fat string cheese, or small handful of nuts to help curb hunger before arriving at your dining destination.
When choosing a restaurant, pick a place where you can order off a larger menu. The larger the menu, the more likely they are to have choices that fit your dietary needs. Steer clear of buffets. It is easier to overeat, lose site of portion control, and be tempted by higher calorie, higher fat foods when frequenting all you can eat places.
Salads – most restaurants now offer side salads or entrée-type salads. Salads with lots of fresh veggies are filled with fiber and are low in fat. They are a great way to feel full and satisfied, and are lower in calories than many other options on a menu. Remember to ask for low-fat salad dressing on the side. Try to avoid cheese or bacon bits on salads if possible, both of which contribute to excessive calories and fat.
Appetizers – they can be healthy if you choose these options: broth-based soups, raw veggies, or steamed seafood, such as shrimp cocktail. Avoid fried appetizers or ones covered with cheese.
Entrees – try ordering an entrée where vegetables are included, such as a stir-fry, kebob, or pasta primavera with tomato sauce. Look for these key words as well: grilled, steamed, broiled, baked, or roasted. These words usually signal a healthier option. Avoid descriptions such as: fried, breaded, sautéed, buttery, pot pie, casserole, or creamy, all of which are usually loaded with fat and calories. If entrees are accompanied by French fries, try substituting a baked potato with a side of margarine or a double order of veggies in its place.
Desserts - try Italian ices, fresh fruit, angel food cake, or low-fat frozen yogurt to satisfy your sweet tooth. All of these options can fit into a healthy diet.
Beverages – some great selections include water, skim milk, tea, coffee, or diet soda. If you drink tea or coffee with sugar, use a sugar substitute. Avoid calorie traps such as alcoholic beverages, lemonade, regular soda, or milk shakes.
When in doubt about food choices, ask for the fat and calorie content of food items. Most restaurants have this information. If they don’t, ask the chef to accommodate your needs. Restaurants will usually strive to please their customers.
It is possible to eat healthy when dining out. Make it a memorable experience that your waistline won’t later regret.