Here at Tommy’s Superfoods, we love to cook, but we also enjoy taking a break from the kitchen and heading out to a restaurant with friends or family to enjoy a meal together. If you’re trying to make diet and lifestyle changes, you might think eating out would be a big “No-No,” but we’re here to tell you that trying to eat healthier and enjoying a night out for dinner are not incompatible.
Here are some of our best ideas to help you succeed:
10 Tips on How to Eat Healthier When Eating Out
- Make a plan. If you’re going out to dinner, eat a lighter lunch. If you’re heading out for a weekend brunch, eat less for the evening meal.
- Think ahead. If you’re going out to eat for your child’s birthday or a retirement dinner for work, you might not have much of a say in the restaurant. In these cases, look online for the restaurant’s menus. This way, you can plan in advance for the healthiest choices they have available.
- Eat like you do at home. If you eat healthy, well-balanced meals at home, do the same when you’re eating out. Load up on veggies, and include grains and some low-fat protein. Not only will you feel better immediately after eating, but you won’t feel the need to cut back on what you eat on the following day.
- Ask for substitutes. Many restaurants are happy to honor requests, so don’t be afraid to ask for a salad instead of fries, to have dressing on the side, or any other modification that would help you stick to your diet plan.
- Quit the “clean plate” club. So many restaurants serve portions that are big enough to fill two or even three people. Eat a portion of your entree and bring the rest home for another meal. Or, order an appetizer and a small soup or side salad.
- Take your time. Did you know it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re no longer hungry? When we eat quickly, we often overeat. Slow down, and have a conversation with your friends and family while also enjoying your meal.
- Don’t forget your drink! After making a smart, healthy choice for your meal, don’t squander those gains by ordering a high-sugar, high-calorie drink. Choose water or unsweetened ice tea, and if you’re drinking alcohol, opt for a glass of wine or a light beer instead of a sweet mixed or frozen drink.
- Cut out unnecessary fats in salads. Salad bars are great but make sure you keep yours healthy and hearty by skipping creamy sauces, bacon bits, and fried noodles. Instead, fill your plate with raw and lightly marinated vegetables like artichoke hearts, red peppers, or mushrooms, and some fruits, seeds, or nuts.
- Order fish. As long as you stay away from fried menu options, seafood that is steamed, baked, broiled, sautéed, blackened, or grilled can be a healthy choice for a delicious meal.
- Be careful with dessert. Just like entrees, many restaurants offer over-sized portions of desserts. If you’re going out to dinner to celebrate a special occasion, and want to indulge in a sweet treat, consider sharing a dessert with another person in your party. Indulging in a few bites of the Triple Chocolate Lava Cake or Banana Split allows you to enjoy the occasion without consuming all those unwanted calories and fat.
Feeling ready for a night on the town?
Restaurants can be intimidating if you’re trying to eat better and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but with a little preparation, you can enjoy going out to eat without sacrificing your health. Do you have tips and strategies for making healthy choices when eating in a restaurant? Share them on our blog or our social media pages!