Learning how to eat healthy at restaurants can be a tricky thing. Whether it’s the occasional treat or eating out all the time due to business or lack of time to cook, eating out at restaurants and maintaining a healthy diet can actually be quite easy.
How To Eat Healthy At Restaurants
1) Chug a glass of water as soon as you get to the table
Many people are dehydrated. Sometimes the body confuses being dehydrated with being hungry. This causes people to overeat and misunderstand exactly what their body is asking for.
Drinking a glass of water as soon as you get to the table will help fill out some of the space in your stomach and also rehydrate the body. Also drinking water before the meal, as opposed to during, helps not to dilute stomach acid and will therefore aid in digestion.
2) Ask for a to-go box when ordering your meal.
Restaurant portions are ginormous. It is unreasonable to think that someone might finish the entirety of their plate in one sitting.
In fact, most restaurant dishes have up to 3 times the amount of any given portion in one serving.
Asking for a to go box to come out with your dinner instead of waiting will help you to keep from overeating. Before you even start to eat your dish go ahead and transfer half of your plate into your to-go box. This will help you eat a more reasonably sized portion.
3) Ask for sauces and dressings on the side.
Sauces and dressings are notoriously high in calories sodium, and sugar. Restaurants do not measure a specific amount while plating the dish.
I worked in restaurants. They simply dump all the gravy and salad dressing on the plate and don’t even care if your food is swimming in it.
Asking for your dressings and sauces on the side will allow you to dip your food there for getting the perfect amount in every bite.
4) Put the Bread Basket on the other side of the table
If you’re like me, you have no resistance to bread when it is simply placed in front of you… Or chips and salsa, depending on where you live.
Many times we fill up on bread or whatever freebies they serve you before the meal and go on to continue to eat an exorbitant amount of food. And many times, the server will keep filling the basket even after your meal is over so it’s easy to mindlessly snack and continue to order drinks. Simplykeeping the basket on the other side of the table where you can’t reach it will help you keep your mitts out of it.
5) Skip the soda
well before I said that drinking water with your food may not be in the best interest for digestion however also drinking sodas and other sugary drinks is not the best option. Instead opt forties or coffee or your favorite wine or beer.
It’s not a new tip to say that sodas are bad for your health.
6) Adjust Your Mindset
When we eat out, it’s easy so go to at least one of several mindsets. Either “It’s so difficult to find something in a restaurant”, or “Is one cheat meal really that bad?” or even going to a place of guilt because a home cooked meal is ALWAYS going to be healthier than one at a restaurant.
But here’s the thing…yes home is healthier usually. And, if you aren’t used to eating healthy at restaurants, it can be challenging. Most restaurants have added healthy, lower calorie options to their menus, but you may not have seen them before.
Also, ONE cheat meal isn’t that bad…but only you can decide if it’s going to be just the one or if it’s going to be a series in a line of cheat meals.
All that being said, life is short, and all you can do is actively decide to make the best of what you have at the moment. Sometimes a cheat meal is good for the soul and sometimes the soul needs nourishment too. You do your best and actively choose to do better the next day.
Don’t let your mindset for one meal ruin your goals. You are in charge of your brain! Use positive self talk, and ditch the guilt!
7) Share the desert or ask for fresh fruit
Desserts aren’t always the healthiest choice but life is short. Restaurant portions are huge and that does’t exclude desserts.
Restaurants do have incredible desserts. And sometimes the special occasion calls for a beautiful sweet treat. To cut back on the sugar and overeating simply share your dessert with the people you love.
If you want to take it a step further, most restaurants have fresh fruit! It may not be on the menu, but it’s somewhere in the kitchen, all you have to do is ask.
8) Actively Choose A Healthy Option
Every diet seems to make a splash at some point. Restaurants do their best to cater to the people that visit their establishments; it’s in their best interest as well as yours. So, it can very easy to keep to your preferred diet when eating out.
9) Make Substitutions
Do not be afraid to make substitutions or leave something off of your plate if you know it is not something you should be having. And while it is frowned upon, no one will stop you from bringing your own dressings or various other minor items that you may want to have with your dinner.
Now you know how to eat healthy at restaurants! So, next time you go out to eat remember these tips and enjoy your restaurant experience with comfort and confidence