It is easy to over do it when you are dining out. Amazing food that is rich in taste and often calories can turn dining out into a diet disaster. While you can’t control the menu, you can control the choices you make. With a little restaurant know how you can lighten up any meal, anywhere.
DON’T go to the restaurant starving
Going to a restaurant famished is the quickest way to blow your healthy habits. Eat a light snack such as a piece of fruit or veggies and dip 1 to 2 hours before dinner. This way your dining decisions are reasonable, not desperate.
DO pay attention to preparation
Pay attention to the adjectives used to describe your dish. These words give you insight on how your food was prepared so you can pick the healthier options with lower calories. Here are a few words to watch out for:
Good Picks: baked, broiled, grilled, steamed, stir-fried, roasted
Bad Picks: battered, béarnaise, breaded, buttered, cheesy, creamed/creamy, crispy, crunchy, fried, loaded, smothered
DON’T get started on the wrong foot
Some appetizers can carry up to twice or even triple the amount of calories compared to the average meal. Steer clear from anything fried, loaded with cheese, or bottomless (including bread baskets). Aim for a vegetable appetizer or opt to start your meal off with a salad or broth based soup.
DO swap your sides
Salads and vegetables make much healthier sides than French fries and onion rings. You can save anywhere from 150 – 400 calories just by swapping your side of fries for seasonal vegetables or a side salad.
DO “undress” your entrée
Order sauces, dips, and dressings on the side. That way you can control the amount that goes on and in your food. Just a reminder that red sauces and vinaigrette’s are usually healthier options with less calories and added fat.
DON’T eat mindlessly
Dining out can be distracting. Delicious food plus conversations and an effortless environment can equal mindlessly overeating. Slow down and pay attention to eating your food. A great tip is to set your silverware down every couple bites to stop the mindless pattern and focus on your food and your company.
DO eat tapas style
Eating tapas style or sharing a little bit of everything allows you to get a bite of everything without eating too much of anything.
-Order a salad or soup as a starter and split the main entrée
-Split an appetizer, main entrée, and dessert. Having half of all three courses is usually the perfect amount.