Eating out is a part of life. While not always the healthiest choice, there are social situations where you may find yourself in a restaurant. Here are some tips to consider for a guilt-free restaurant experience.
1. Know Your Options
The first step is learning what your options are so you can plan ahead. Many of restaurants now publish their menus and nutrition information online. You can do your research and feel confident with your order before you even get to the restaurant.
2. Consider Portion Sizes
It is crucial to be aware of portions, as many restaurants tend to give you double the required intake. Sharing with a friend or wrapping half of your portion to take home is a smart idea. Beware of all the extra sides—try to avoid the bread and butter, appetizers, and desserts.
3. Limit Your Beverages
Excess alcohol or soda drinks can really add up and contribute to empty calories; drinking water decreases your appetite and helps you digest your food.
4. Watch for Key Words
When ordering your meal, look for key words like grilled and baked rather than fried or sauteed. Also note that broth or tomato-based sauces and soups are healthier than cream-based ones. Salads may not be your best option—look for cheese, creamy dressing, dried fruit, and fried items.
5. Get Your Nutrients
Choose one main protein such as chicken or fish, one vegetable side, and one carbohydrate. This carbohydrate can be a shared dessert, a handful of chips, or a drink. Choosing one "fun" item will allow you to still enjoy yourself without exceeding your limit.