Who said eating out has to be unhealthy? The secret is to be more aware of the food you eat. We have a few ways to help make your dine-out meals enjoyable, healthy, and still delicious!
Drinking a glass of water instead of a sugary drink before you take a bite into your delicious meal can help you eat less at the dinner table. A glass of water before your meal aids your digestion and helps you feel more full, which can help you eat less. Plus, it saves you a few dollars on your bill while also saving you calories! If you want to add a little flavor to your water, ask for a slice of cucumber or lemon. Lemons add a tangy flavor and are a great source of Vitamin C.
Choose Chicken or Fish
Even if you’re going to a fast-food restaurant, you can still make healthier selections. Red meats like hamburger and steak are both high in saturated fats, which may raise the risk of cancer and heart disease. Most restaurants and even hamburgers stands offer chicken and fish options. However, if you have to choose between a bucket of fried chicken and a hamburger, get the burger but hold the fries.
Keep Your Plate Colorful
Your plate is your canvas. Spice it up and eat the rainbow! Making sure your plate has more colorful veggies and fruits ensures that you eat the right amount of nutrients. Make it your goal to cover two corners of your plate with fruits and veggies. Try substituting the ‘bad carbs’ found in fries and mashed potatoes with complex carbohydrates, like brown or wild rice, and hearty veggies like broccoli, asparagus, and carrots. If you’re craving a juicy burger, ditch the bun and wrap it in lettuce. Lettuce-wrapping your burgers can shave off extra calories and helps you load up on veggies.
Substitute the Salad Dressing
Choosing to eat a salad for lunch or dinner can still be a fun meal. But even a hearty salad can be unhealthy if you choose the wrong dressing or load it with unhealthy toppings like croutons or a lot of cheese. Substitute those toppings with healthy seeds, nuts, or roasted chickpeas, and instead of ranch, blue cheese, or French dressing, try a vinaigrette! The best dressings for your colorful salads are the ones you can see through. Try a balsamic, raspberry, or Italian vinaigrette for a flavorful substitute.
It’s not your imagination: restaurants are serving bigger portions. That doesn’t mean you have to eat everything they put in front of you. Two ways to downsize your plate are to order an appetizer or two for your meal, or just eat half of your entrée. If you order appetizers as a main dish, ask for your food to arrive with the rest of the entrees. Also, if you have a big entrée, try sharing it with your friend, or taking half of it home with you for a meal the next day. Who doesn’t love leftovers?
Don’t Go Extra with the Extra
All that gooey ketchup you’re slathering on your sandwich is a hidden source of sugar and extra calories. Just two tablespoons of ketchup have two teaspoons of sugar – in fact, ounce for ounce, ketchup has more sugar than ice cream. Other condiments that contain extra sugar include:
- Barbeque sauce
- Honey mustard sauce
- Teriyaki sauce
On the salty side, soy sauce, sweet relish, and mustard should also be used in moderation because they’re loaded with sodium.
If you’re looking to add extra flavor without the extra calories, try smarter options like:
- Hot sauce
- Guacamole (in moderation)
- Lemon juice
Remember, making a healthier lifestyle change can be fun and delicious!